Nextbigfuture interviewed Michael West, CEO of the startup AgeX for nearly three hours today. The key to human regeneration is from week 3 to week 8 after fertilization of the egg when we are an embryo. In week one and week two, we are a zygote. After week, we are fetus.
Nextbigfuture will follow up this article with several more articles with information from the interview. This article will provide the core of the AgeX approach to full regeneration and radical life extension.
We fully regenerate without scarring from week three to week 8 as embryos but heal with scarring from week 9 onwards
All vertebrate embryos can regenerate the developing limb bud as embryos. This has been demonstrated directly in frog embryos, where it is relatively easy to do the surgical manipulations. In chick embryos, an amputated limb bud fails to regenerate because the epidermal covering fails to reform. If you graft a new apical epidermis, or provide the appropriate chemical signals that the epidermis normally produces (fibroblast growth factor), then the amputated limb bud will regenerate. Amputations of developing mammalian limb buds are very difficult because the embryo develops inside the uterus of the mother. These experiments have been done in mice, and as in the case with frogs, amputated limb structures can regenerate depending on the stage of development. In humans, the developing limb can get amputated at later stages by amniotic constriction bands, and these limbs fail to regenerate. Presumably, if the limb bud is damaged or amputated at very early stages they would regenerate as in the case with frogs.
AgeX believes adult cells and bodies can be made to fully regenerate like they did as embyros
Agex has compared embryo cells with adult cells at the genetic and epigenetic level. They believe they have uncovered pathways which they can use to restore embryonic regeneration in adults.
They call it ITR (Induced Tissue Regeneration).
The first drug to induce ITR is called Renelon. It is a known drug which they have identified as having an ITR effect. It is a first generation drug which will enhance regenerative ability but will not be to the full embryonic level.
Using advanced molecular and artificial intelligence technologies, they identified pathways that they believe may provide means of unlocking this profound biology in human medicine. The pathways suggest that they may also be integral to the biology of aging and cancer as well. Patents relating to this emerging technology called induced Tissue Regeneration (iTR), have been filed and animal studies are currently underway.
They will follow initial ITR drug with more powerful ITR drugs.
BioTime HyStem hydrogel matrix will allow incorporation of your own fat cells like improved Botox
Biotime, the parent company of AgeX, has a stage two process called HyStem.
BioTime’s HyStem® hydrogel technology is a key foundation for the practice of regenerative medicine. It acts as a volumizer in cosmetic procedures that provides a matrix for the administration of therapeutic cells or biologics to a patient. It is the underlying technology for BioTime’s Renevia™ product currently undergoing a pivotal clinical trial for the treatment of HIV-related lipoatrophy. HyStem® matrix products mimic the natural environment that cells experience in the body, called the “extracellular matrix.” HyStem® hydrogels are composed of a patented technology wherein naturally-occurring components of the extracellular matrix such as hyaluronan and collagen are safely cross-linked in the presence of cells in the body to create three-dimensional tissue.
The HyStem Matrix will also allow for incorporation of AgeX brown fat or heart tissue
AgeX will first target scarless heart tissue regeneration to improve the health of heart attack survivors.
AgeX also has an early target for producing brown fat to help people overcome obesity and type two diabetes.
The Mexican Salamander and the fictional Wolverine are Embryos
Mexican Salamanders can grow back a leg that is cut off. They are stuck in an embryonic state. If you give them hormones that non-embryos produce they develop into non-regenerating amphibians.
Michael West believes combining the power of Embryonic regeneration and Telomerase immortalization of cells could enable radical longevity
Michael West developed Telomerase and creating the first immortal cells.
West believes that giving adults the ability to have embyronic level regeneration with lengthened telomeres will enable radical life extension.
This will be discussed along with many other details in follow up articles to this article.
Some Bios of Some AgeX Executives
Michael D. West, Ph.D., served as BioTime’s (NYSE MKT: BTX) CEO from 2007-2015, and is currently Co-CEO and member of the Board of Directors since 2002. Dr. West also serves as a Director of BioTime’s subsidiary company Asterias Biotherapeutics (NYSE MKT: AST). From 1998 to 2007, Dr. West served as CEO, President, and Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (now Ocata Therapeutics, Nasdaq: OCAT), a company engaged in developing human stem cell technology for use in regenerative medicine. Prior to that, he was founder, officer, and board member of Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN).
Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. ia VP, NEW TECHNOLOGY DISCOVERY
Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating the aging process. He received his BA in computer science and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cambridge, UK. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He is a highly sought-after speaker who gives 40-50 invited talks per year at scientific conferences, universities, companies in areas ranging from pharma to life insurance, and to the public. He now dedicates 30% of his time to AgeX.