Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bio Seeds, BioTime & Regenerative Medicine 2

There are human cells that are immortal.  There are others that will die.  Regenerative Medicine seeks to reset the mortal cell back to their youthful robustness, thus keeping them young indefinitely.  Can this be done?

Yes.  It can be done.  It HAS been done.  But first we must understand the tremendous need for it and then we will discuss what discoveries led us to this fantastic future.

Aging America
In the past, people were not expected to live much further than the age of 65.  Today the average American passes that age substantially.  Since 1996, the baby boomer generation has been turning 50 at the rate of 300,000 a month.  Since people from the generation of the Great Depression are still alive, we have in America an unparalleled paradigm shift - both the parents and their children are members of the senior population.  At the beginning of the 20th century the life expectancy was 46 years of age.  Now it is about 76.  By 2030, people over the age of 85 will double.  By 2040 40% of the population will be older than 50 years of age.  America cannot afford to treat such large numbers of people with the typical aging diseases.  There must be a breakthrough if the finances of this country and others in the world is to survive.  As Dr. West has said there is a tsunami wave of seniors approaching the healthcare industry.  If through a medical breakthrough, the senior population of the world can be rejuvenated, it will produce a surge in productivity and economic benefits unheard in the history of humanity.

"Organic bodies are perishable, while life maintains the appearance of immortality, in the constant succession of similar individuals, the individuals themselves are passing away."
August Weismann
History of Regenerative Medicine
August Weismann
Johannes Mueller (1801-1858) quoted August Weismann (1832-1914) in one of the first papers on the biology of aging where he observed that humans come from a lineage of cells that have lived continuously since the beginning of the human race.  It was Weismann that observed the difference between somatic cells and what he called germ cells.  He was the first to observe that although the somatic cells died, the germ cells probably did not.  He was also the first to observe that that somatic cells could only duplicate a finite number of times.  He speculated that the death of the individual dies because his cells died.

Alexie Nilovnokov
Today aging is little understood.  According to West, there are at least 300 changes known to take place during aging.  This is probably only a small fraction of the changes, with many still unknown.  In 1962, Leonard Hayflick was the first to demonstrate that somatic cells had a limited capacity for replication.  This finite replication is known as Hayflick's Limit.  This discoveery overturned the generally held belief at the beginning of the 20th century, espoused by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells (soma cells) could replicate indefinitely.  It was Alexie Olovnikov in 1971 who first theorize that DNA sequences were lost in every replicative phase of cell division until a critical level was reached after which, cell division would stop.  In 1977 Elizabeth Blackburn, Jack Szostak, and  Carol Greider were able to discover the unusual nature of telemores.  They confirmed Olovnikov's theory by understanding the process of HOW chromosomes are protected by telemores and the enzyme telemerase.  This won them all the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 2009.

Our present state of research was inspired by the transformation of a mortal somatic cell into an immortal one through the disease of cancer.  The cancer has no limitations as to its duplication.  So the idea is that if a somatic cell can be reversed into an immortal one, then there must be a process that can be understood and perhaps replicated to rejuvenate somatic cells.  Here is another informative video by West, about regenerative medicine.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

BioTime is the company to watch in the next several months.  Some financial sectors have speculated that the stock of the company after they implement their newest technology in February will totally transform medicine and be a cure for a myriad of deadly diseases.  We hope this will be the case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!