[Link] Anti-ageing compound set for human trials

post by Gavin · 2013-12-22T20:51:25.123Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 11 comments

This seems like an advance in understanding, even if it doesn't lead directly to a treatment.

News stories:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/20/anti-ageing-human-trials?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25445748

 

Abstract of the paper, actual paper behind a paywall: 

http://www.cell.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867413015213?cc=y

 

Relatively solid stories like this help raise my estimate that significant life extension is possible in our lifetimes. The likelihood seems to be that it won't be a "magic pill" but a combination of therapies.

If nothing else, it's another reason to eat healthy and stay in shape.

11 comments

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comment by Locaha · 2013-12-23T11:59:55.781Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Link to the paper: libgen.org/scimag/get.php?doi=10.1016%2Fj.cell.2013.11.037

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-25T12:51:35.523Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Relatively solid stories like this help raise my estimate that significant life extension is possible in our lifetimes. The likelihood seems to be that it won't be a "magic pill" but a combination of therapies.

I don't see the solidity. They haven't even shown that the mouses live longer. They just have shown that they can change mitrochondrial activity of a mouse to a state as if the mouse is longer.

We don't know whether the body has a reason to downregulate mitrochondria. It might very well be that the whole procedure increases cancer risks.

We don't even know if this study will replicate if other labs try to do the same thing.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2013-12-26T01:35:24.985Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They haven't even shown that the mouses live longer. They just have shown that they can change mitrochondrial activity of a mouse to a state as if the mouse is longer.

This perplexed me when I was skimming the intro to a popular article. Are they really moving to humans trials based on nothing but 1 or 2 mouse studies based on biomarkers? But I was too busy at the time to bother looking up the original papers and jailbreak them if necessary.

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-26T16:05:26.016Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Normally when you read a scientific paper they give you a confidence interval for the effect they investigated in their abstract. This Cell paper doesn't. If they could actually tell you how much years of life the mouse gained through the therapy they would put that into the abstract and force you to read the whole paper to get the number.

Are they really moving to humans trials based on nothing but 1 or 2 mouse studies based on biomarkers?

The biomarkers seems interesting. It's useful to know whether humans react the same way towards them. This is an acedemic group making an experiment in humans and not a big pharma company testing a prospective drug.

Given the drug to 5 humans and seeing whether their biomarkers react the same way the one of the mouse isn't as expensive as the later trial phases.

From a pharmaceutical perspective the drug might be useful even if it doesn't help to fight aging in the general population. There are probably some illnesses where it's very important to upregulate mitrochondria.

Other things that might you doubt that the drug is useful for fighting human aging is that it works similarly to calorie restriction. Calorie restriction does increase mouse lifespan but last year we learned that it didn't do well with the apes.

Given the cost of $50,000 a day for a human that the guardian article cites, a drug company would have to first focus on actually investigating related compounds and search for a compound that they can produce at a reasonable price before rushing to get a drug through the approval process.

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-12-26T16:23:56.667Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If they could actually tell you how much years of life the mouse gained

Nitpick: years gained is rather optimistic for mice. Months is more likely.

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-26T16:43:42.338Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nitpick: years gained is rather optimistic for mice. Months is more likely.

With Googling you seem to be right that mouse lifespan extensions seem to be reported in months. I personally would still prefer to report results that are less than a year in years. Months have the annoying habit of having either 19, 28, 29, 30 or 31 days in length.

Replies from: JoshuaZ
comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-12-27T16:48:58.631Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In at least one paper I've seen on this subject, month was fixed as a 30 day period. But even without that, as an approximation, months work pretty well for reporting the rough increase. The difference between 29 and 31 days will get swamped in the error margin for anything less than six months or so. And since most months are 30 or 31, and many alternate, in practice, this will be very close to 30.5 days, so the difference will be negligible.

comment by TylerJay · 2013-12-24T04:13:13.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

While this sounds great, there are obviously many factors that contribute to aging. SENS identifies 7 here (with mitochondrial decline being only one):

http://www.sens.org/research/introduction-to-sens-research

I'm curious what the SENS people would say about this study and if it helps at all in their model of aging. Without really looking into it too much, this could be a contributing factor to the mitochondrial decline aging pathway:

http://www.sens.org/research/introduction-to-sens-research/mito

Whatever this means, it still seems sensational to say it's really "setting back the clock".

That said, I'm really curious to see if anything comes of this!

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-24T10:11:19.511Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looks like this is just basically NAD+, which has been around as a supplement for a long time. I think I have some lying around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotinamide_adenine_dinucleotide

comment by pinyaka · 2013-12-24T18:10:28.311Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

NAD+ is just niacin (vit. B3) which is a relatively cheap supplement. What would more knowledgeable people here say that the chances are that taking a niacin supplement daily would extend your lifespan by 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years?

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-25T13:03:38.084Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

NAD+ is just niacin

No, Niacin is a precursor to NAD+. It not clear that you will get significantly more NAD+ if you raise niacin levels.

If some enyzm on the way towards NAD+ doesn't get expressed enough having to much Niacin might mean that some precursor for NAD+ is to highly concentrated with kicks of reactions you don't want.

Niacin has a upper level recommendation for the FDA. This might be a reason to make sure that you don't have niacin insufficiency in your diet but I wouldn't take this study as evidence for taking higher a higher B3 dosis.