Monday, October 21, 2013 - One young scientist's quest to defeating aging

It is always a pleasure to see the young scientists working on their projects with passion and dedication. It is even a greater pleasure to see some of the outstanding ones trying to popularize research in their field. Maria Litovchenko, a young scientist, who recently graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and is doing her graduate work at LMU Muenschen is running an excellent blog – Laboratory Fairy ( . It is a pleasure to see someone truly dedicated to defeating aging through excellence in scientific research.

We would like to wish her all the best in her endeavors.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Aging Expert Urges Government Leaders to Accelerate Research in Aging and Proactively Increase the Retirement Age to Prevent Economic Crisis (via SBWire)

Forest Hills, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/01/2013 -- A leading expert on aging sees extending healthy lifespan as the most plausible solution and a source of growth for the debt-laden faltering economies of the developed countries. In his newly released book…

New ways to combat age-related mineralization

When you open a 70-year old patient on the operating table and touch the aorta, the feeling may resemble touching an eggshell or sand paper. It is stiffer than the heart of a young person and the key reasons for this are the abundant calcium deposits in the connective tissue that accumulate with age.

The many factors leading to mineralization of the connective tissue include genetic and acquired diseases, inflammation, reactive oxygen species, but the major problem is that it occurs spontaneously during aging as calcium-containing molecules are trapped in the extracellular matrix and develop into apatite over time.

Despite its relative significance, compared to the many other areas of aging research, mineralization of the connective tissue is rarely mentioned in scientific publications and few teams are working on preventing or clearing out the extracellular aggregates.  To address the problem, a multidisciplinary team of physicians, bioinformatitians, biochemists and physicists performed a comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of the many factors involved in mineralization, identified key molecular targets and proposed a list of possible drugs to address the issue.

The results of the study were accepted for publication by a high-impact journal in biogerontology “Rejuvenation Research” and will be published shortly and can be cited as “Mineralization of the connective tissue: a complex molecular process leading to age-related loss of function”, Anastasia Shindyapina, Garik V Mkrtchyan, Tatiana Gneteeva, Sveatoslav Buiucli, M Kulka, B Tancowny, Alexander Aliper, Alexander Zhavoronkov, Rejuvenation Research, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1475, , PMID 23902273

Anastasia Shindyapina together with her collaborators presented the results of the study on the 5th of September at the SENS6 conference in Cambridge, UK.

“Aging inevitably leads to the loss of function on many levels. Mineralization of the connective tissue is one of the causes and consequences of aging and is a complex multifactorial process. Metabolic activity, diseases and external stress factors may cause calcification, but most importantly, it occurs spontaneously. Our goal is to identify least toxic ways to both prevent calcification and to repair the accumulated  aggregates.”, said Anastasia Shindyapina, ASUS Fellow for Bioinformatics and Medical Information Technology, PhD-candidate at the Moscow State University and researcher at FOIRMYS.

"Mineralization of connective tissue with age is one of the many aspects of aging that are examples of "accumulation of eventually pathogenic extracellular material", an issue that attracts too little attention within the academic community. The accumulation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and of mineral deposits both result in increased stiffness of connective tissue, impair homeostasis and contribute to a broad range of age-related diseases. Through comprehensive bioinformatic analysis of the many molecular processes involved in mineralization, Zhavoronkov's team has identified possible molecular interventions. Additionally they proposed that mineralization and AGEs work in concert and should be addressed concurrently. Anastasia Shyndyapina, the lead author on the paper, recently presented this work at the SENS6 conference in Cambridge.", commented Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation and International Adjunct Professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).

The First Open Institute for Regenerative Medicine for Young Scientists (FOIRMYS) is a non-profit volunteer initiative bringing together over a thousand enthusiast young scientists and physicians interested in regenerative medicine. It was first organized by Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD in collaboration with Sergey Yakovenko, PhD, Sergey Roumiantsev, PhD and Oleg Korzinov in Moscow with support from Anna Chapman.
FOIRMYS provides regular weekly lectures by the top academic and industry thought leaders, investors and regulators. The list of presenters includes Paolo Macchiarini (Karolinska Institute), Alexey Aravin (Caltech), Charles Cantor (Boston U, ex-director of the Human Genome Project), Augustinus Bader (Leipzig University), top managers from Beijing Genomics Institute, Malaysian Genome Resource Center, Indigo Capital Partners and many others. As part of the curriculum students participate in practicums at “Altravita IVF, FRCCPH, FORCC, Quantum Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmcluster “Northern” and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
Members work in small teams comprised of scientists and physicians on ambitious outlier projects in aging and regenerative medicine with topics ranging from mineralization of connective tissue, HGPS and regulation of endometriosis to industry overviews and healthcare economics. The projects are coordinated in a crowdsourced environment and rely heavily on popular tools like Facebook, Dropbox and Google Apps. FOIRMYS developed a concept called “Personalized Medicine”, where projects are centered around the problems of a single patient, who provides samples and helps coordinate the project. Members also learn how to promote their work, create personal science blogs (including Women in Science initiative) and engage in industry outreach.
Participation in practical group projects resulted in success stories including young scientists’ publications in peer-reviewed journals, fellowships, participation in international conferences, gainful employment of young scientists and international collaborations.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 is now live

A partner information resource "Aging Research Projects for Extreme Longevity" is now live. A team of volunteers will help contribute useful content to cover the trends and projects in aging research.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The economic reasons to accelerate aging research

The end of retirment by extending healthy life or by an unprecedented economic collapse
Accelerating aging research to extend healthy productive lifespan seems to be in everyone's best interest. There are few people on this planet, who would chose to age and gradually succumb to diseases of aging if they were given a choice to live longer and healthier lives.

However, up until recently, the many failed promises of science made many of us resistant to accepting the possibility of the interventions that may take us way beyond the lifespans of our parents and grandparents.
Well, now it is time to open up to these possibilities and get actively involved, because the urgency to accelerate aging research now stems from the economic fundamentals of the aging population in the developed countries.

Aging populations in the developed countries are now the single biggest threat to the global economy. People that are retiring today and that are due to retire in the next decade are going to live extraordinarily long lives due to the advances in biomedicine and propagation of these advanced into the clinical setting.
 "The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy",  a book by Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD in very simple layman language drills down into the history of retirement and social security and the present state of the social security, healthcare and the unfunded liabilities of the developed countries. It also takes the reader on a tour of the laboratories in the US, Europe and China, where scientists toil on solving the complex puzzles of regenerative medicine, longevity genes and technologies that will extend our lifespans. Then it looks at the future of retirement and presents the real possibility of the near-term Economic Collapse. There are some solutions and policy proposals, but chances are very small that we will be able to avoid the crisis before we can significantly extend healthy lifespans.

The book will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in June 2013 and is available for pre-order at Amazon and most bookstores worldwide.

Barnes and Noble:

The main idea of this book is that in record time the US must start a coordinated program to increase healthy productive lives of the two generations that are nearing retirement or the whole world will face several decades of economic decline and possible collapse. The need to fight aging is no longer an altruistic initiative, but a real economic necessity.

Recent advances in biomedicine will extend the lifespans of the two generations due to retire within the next twenty years; however, unless there are programs in place to keep them healthy and working, the burden of the aging population will drive the global economy into the state of depression or even worse. Developed countries should re-focus the research programs from just extending lifespans to extending health spans and the retirement age to remain solvent and this initiative must be led by the beating heart and the brain of the world's economy - the United States of America.

Every reader of this post must consider the possibility of radical extension of healthy life through biomedicine. One thing you should do right now is to stretch the expected horizons to 150 years.  Yes, it is possible! Even if we let some of the major advances that already happened to converge and reach the clinic, 150 years of life is the very minimum of what a 40-year old today should expect.

One way to prepare for it is to pack up and prepare yourself and your family to live through the economic collapse. Another way is to actively engage in supporting aging research by engaging in government lobbying, supporting research directly or even engaging in research personally.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Russian science prodigies never fail to amaze –

Russia as the country may not be contributing much to the global progress in biomedicine, but without doubt it gives birth to many bright scientists.

One of such rare gems is Maria Litovchenko, a student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, scientist at the FRC Center for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, research associate at the Biogerontology Research Foundation and the organizer of the First Open Institute for Regenerative Medicine for Young Scientists. All that before turning 20!

When she is not working at the lab or sleeping, she is either programming or initiating the outreach programs to promote women in science. She is an avid advocate of aging research.

This week she is presenting at TEDMED Russia with a talk "Power to the Patient: From Personalized Medicine to Personalized Science".

Kudos, Maria!

Maria's Science Blog

From her About page:

   Since very early age I wanted to understand the complexity behind the aging phenomenon. Now aging research is my life. Aging research is a complex multidisciplinary field and I am dedicated to increasing my knowledge of the systems biology of aging, age-related diseases and the underlying and associated processes.

     I hope that we finally reached a point in human evolution, where we can regulate our longevity and significantly increase the healthy lifespan.

     I started my journey in aging from research in pediatric progerias and laminopathies, but hope to get into the applied regenerative medicine sometime soon.

     I firmly believe that before anyone can start lobbying for research in aging, one has to go through a classical training in biomedical sciences and get at least one graduate degree. Developing a roadmap for extending healthy lifespan requires the detailed understanding of the current state of many areas of knowledge and training in just one field is rarely sufficient for making the informed decisions. I would like to see many scientists working towards a single goal – the Apollo program for healthy life extension so that people could stay healthy and productive significantly longer than today.
    I started my career in Federal Research Center of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology as a junior scientist at the Bioinformatics and Medical Technology laboratory.  Also I am one of the most active member of First Open Institute for Regenerative Medicine for Young Scientists.