Huge Week for Anti-Aging Research in Mice

I have covered anti-aging research on this blog a few times in the past: partly because aging reversal can often imply hair loss reversal; and partly because I also cover medical items of interest once a month. This week was one of the best ever in anti-aging research, especially for mice (and their fur). A number of people have posted links about some of the below developments in the last post (with special thanks to commentator “Netshed” who was especially prolific), and several people have also e-mailed me relevant links.

Senescent Cell Destruction Results in More Youthful Mice

For many years, scientists have known that the quantity of senescent cells (i.e., aged cells that have stopped dividing) correlates with aging in humans. More recently, research has suggested that senescent cells also damage other nearby healthy cells. So, not surprisingly, some scientists have conducted experiments to see if removing these old senescent cells (ideally, without damaging other normally functioning cells) reversed signs of aging and increased life expectancy. A few experiments in mice have suggested the answer to be in the affirmative (e.g., this one from 2011 and this one from 2015). There is now even a name (senolytics) for the class of drugs that can kill senescent cells.

This week, a groundbreaking study (led by Dr. Peter de Keizer) from the Netherlands found that a drug that they developed to kill senescent cells causes dramatic improvements in mice health and essentially reverses their aging. For our purposes, the most important thing was that these mice saw regrowth of healthy fur/hair! Key photos below (green arrows on rightmost column show hair regrowth in almost all mice after FOXO4 peptide ingestion):

Mice hair regrowth from destroying senescent cells

The team behind this research plans clinical trials in humans in the near future. There are literally 100s of articles on this development, and various scientists from other countries have been quoted as saying that this development is potentially a huge breakthrough in anti-aging science. Two contrasting sources here and here.

Addendum 1: In case anyone got the wrong idea from my recent post on obesity perhaps benefiting scalp hair, this study is worth reading.

Addendum 2: Specially for Mr. “nasa_rs”: “JAK inhibition alleviates the cellular senescence-associated secretory phenotype and frailty in old age“.

David Sinclair Update

I have covered anti-aging Harvard-based Australian researcher Dr. David Sinclair (widely associated with resveratrol) once on this blog before here. In a new paper, him and his colleagues have found a way to protect a mouse’s DNA from damage via boosting NAD+ levels, and they are supposedly ready to test it in people. Dr. Sinclair in some ways is the Dr. George Cotsarelis or Dr. Ken Washenik of the anti-aging world. You decide what I mean by the above sentence.

Note that there is also a Dr. Rodney Sinclair who is a famous hair loss researcher that I have covered a few times on this blog. He is also from Australia.

Young Blood Without the Need for a Donor

In recent years, a number of scientists have been researching the fascinating subject of whether older people can be rejuvenated by the infusion of blood from the young! Billionaire Peter Thiel is especially interested. However, one major problem with this strategy for older non-wealthy people is that there might not be enough young healthy donors with the correct blood type willing to donate at reasonable prices. However, this week, scientists from Germany published research that could be a workaround for this problem. Just make old blood young again (in mice) via the addition of osteopontin protein and forget about the young. After all, “youth is wasted on the young”.

Brief Items of Interest, March 2017

Hair loss news first:

Replicel

— The biggest news this past month is from Canada based Replicel (Japan based Shiseido’s partner), a company that I have covered dozens of times on this blog before. They just released 5-year safety data for “a high-dose of dermal sheath cup cells (DSCC) for patients with pattern baldness due to androgenetic alopecia”, which is basically their RCH-01 product. Since the injected cells are a patient’s own cells (i.e., autologous), the positive safety results are not surprising. In regards to efficacy (on a small sample size of 19 test patients – > 10 male and 9 female): “an overall stabilization of hair loss was observed among all the patients treated per protocol”. The best 10 respondents witnessed a sustained 4.2 percent increase over baseline hair density at 24 months after injection. Will be interesting to see their 5-year post injection efficacy results, since current data only covered 2 years post injection results.

The scientists involved theorize that rather than one large dose, many small doses spread over some time period will result in even superior outcomes. Results will also improve as they learn more about optimum depth of injections, make use of their new proprietary injection device, and conduct gene expression analysis. FYI — I am much more interested in Shiseido than in Replicel, but unfortunately the former never makes any announcements (at least not in English newspapers), while the latter has in recent months been making a significant announcement almost every single week.

Dr. Manabu Ohyama

— I covered Dr. Manabu Ohyama on this blog before. This week he published an important study that could help advance research into overcoming the difficulties associated with the preparation of trichogenic human dermal papilla cells (and, as a result, help in the bioengineering of hair follicles). The study is too technical for me to understand without devoting many hours of time. However, I found it quite interesting that in the report, they devote a large section to Minoxidil. Interesting quote regarding how Minoxidil works:

“Minoxidil is a clinically used hair growth promoter that enhances hair KC (keratinocyte) proliferation and activates hDP cells to induce growth factors. IGF-1 is among these growth factors, and has been shown to exhibit a potent hair elongation effect.”

Cellmid

— I have covered Australian company Cellmid a few times on this blog before, usually very briefly since I am a skeptic about any purported benefits of their hair growth product beyond modest regrowth at best. However, today I read that the company’s CEO Maria Halasz purchased 400,000 shares of Cellmid (at a cost of $11,200) and now holds a total of 27.3 million shares. I guess either she really believes in their hair loss product (which inhibits fibroblast growth factor-5 = FGF-5), or she believes that she will be able to sell her stake at a higher price irrespective of how well the product ends up doing. The company has made several important announcements on Twitter recently, and saw phenomenal sales growth in the last quarter of 2016.

Aclaris Therapeutics update (h/t commentator “J_van”).

Interesting new video from hair transplant surgeon Dr. John Cole.

James Nesbitt and his hair transplants.

And now on to medical items of interest:

Terminal cancer remission in 1/3 of patients after new gene therapy treatment.

New blood test for early cancer detection.

Cambridge scientists create first self-developing embryo from stem-cells. In mice.

3D printed fully functional blood vessel network created via using an ultra-fast bioprinting system.

Interesting stem cell work from Japan/RIKEN (h/t commentator “baldings”).

Editas, Allergan and gene editing for eye diseases.

— Update on DIY biohacking: