Category Archives: George Church

Dr. George Church: The Augmented Human Being

On very rare occasions, I write posts covering biological or medical subjects and breakthroughs that are either:

a) Groundbreaking, but entirely unrelated to a hair loss cure, or

b) Potentially related to a hair loss cure in the long run.

This post on Dr. George Church falls under the second category.

Dr. George Church

I have discussed Dr. George Church a few times on this blog before. In my opinion, there is a good possibility that he will be known as one of the 10-20 greatest scientists the world has ever witnessed when all is said and done.  Interestingly enough, Dr. Church got an F on one of his graduate program college courses at Duke University in 1976, and he has proudly posted that letter of rejection from Duke on his current Harvard University website.  Dr. Church was adopted as a child.  In his own words, he has had “early-onset health problems (insurance companies take note): heart attack, carcinoma, narcolepsy, dyslexia, pneumonia, motion sickness.

Several days ago, a new interview (more like a speech) of Dr. Church was posted on youtube, and I was very impressed by the range of subjects that Dr. Church covers in this video.  The title of this video is “The Augmented Human Being.”  Hopefully, this augmentation will imply a full head of hair for all, even though that is  probably the last thing that Dr. Church is thinking of when he discusses things such as CRISPR and genetic therapy in the video.

It is quite revealing that the above video only had a little under 500 views when I embedded it in this post, despite being online for two days.  In sharp contrast, the one week old gorilla video now has close to 11 million views.  Dr. George Church could bring back that now dead gorilla back to life just like he will the extinct woolly mammoth.

Dr. Church is currently 61 years old, but from the looks of it, I doubt that he will retire any time soon despite his health problems.  He is a workaholic.

During the past few months Dr. Church has been all over the news almost every single day.  Some highlights:

Aldous Huxley increasingly looks prescient.

Brief Items of Interest, October 2015

Hair loss news first:

— Prolific hair loss forum participant “Hellouser” is planning to attend the 9th World Congress for Hair Research in Miami from November 18-21, 2015. I suspect that this Congress will be the best one yet. Last year I asked blog readers to raise funds for “Desmond” from Australia to go to the 8th World Congress for Hair Research in South Korea, and this year I am asking people to help raise funds for “Hellouser” from Canada to attend this Congress in the US. Desmond’s videos from last year’s conference were excellent and an absolute must watch. I hope “Hellouser” also manages to film many of the most anticipated presentations this year. Please see his gofundme page for more.

— I covered Samumed in a detailed post last year.  It seems like the company updated its clinical trials page last month and might still be recruiting volunteers (although one forum member said they stopped after getting too many calls). I called their Ohio testing location and left a voicemail on 10/16/15 and will update this section if they call me back. Update: Ohio location staff called me back on 10/19/15 and are still accepting volunteers this week.  Perhaps of more significance, Samumed is a Silver level sponsor of the earlier mentioned upcoming 9th World Congress for Hair Research. They are clearly not going away, and their Wnt pathway activation strategy is entirely different from what other companies such as Allergan, Histogen and Replicel are doing.

— An interesting new study tiled “The In-Vitro Development of Polarized Hair Bearing Skin” using LGR6+ epithelial stem cells. A bit too technical for me to analyze in detail in this brief updates post.

— Dr. John Cole made an interesting update to his “looking for PRP volunteers” thread (NO LONGER THERE AS OF 2016) on the Bald Truth Forums. In his own words, he is trying out the following formulations:

“1. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. PRP plus CG plus recothrombin
2. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. PRP plus CG plus autologous thrombin
3. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. PRP plus CG plus ACell
4. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. PRP plus CG plus AmnioFX
5. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) AmnioFX plus ACell Vs. PRP plus CG plus AmnioFX
6. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. Ultrasound cell lysis to release growth factors of PRP plus CG
7. PRP plus calcium gluconate (CG) Vs. PRP plus CG plus dalteparin plus protamine microparticles.”

— While we are talking about the details of PRP, on October 10 Dr. Jerry Cooley posted the following on the Hair Restoration Network forums:

“About PRP, that’s a great question. Actually, there a lot of different ways to ‘do’ PRP. Adding ACell is just one variable. Some of these other variables are: the device used to centrifuge the blood, the concentration of platelets achieved, the total volume injected, the size of the syringe and needle used to do the injecting, the level in the scalp it is injected, whether the PRP is ‘activated’, the use of microneedling, etc. All of these can affect the result in my opinion.”

— And yet more on PRP:  Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport keeps getting great publicity on his PRP treatment for hair.

FYI:  Although I discussed PRP a lot in this post, I still think its a gamble when it comes to growing back lost hair. If you do go for this procedure, it is probably worth contacting Dr. Joseph Greco first (search this blog’s “Categories” menu for more on him) and then contacting other doctors for a second and third opinion. [Update: Dr. Greco sent me some feedback that I have pasted in the comments to this blog post].

And now on to medical items of interest:

Deleting genes could bolster lifespan by 60 years. Only done in yeast cells as of now, but perhaps Liz Parrish can help speed this up in humans too?

George Church and colleagues do it yet again. They modify 62 genes in pigs used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. Humanity is a giant step closer to the day when organs can be harvested from pigs and implanted into humans without fear of rejection.

— If organ donations from pigs take too long to become a reality, there is always the possibility of ever improving artificial organs. The third ever patient to be fitted with an artificial Carmat heart is doing well six months post transplant. He is 73 years old. The first such patient died 2.5 months after getting an artificial heart and the second such patient died 9 months after getting an artificial heart  due to a motor control malfunction.

— I was unaware that earlier this year US based Alcor cryogenically preserved its youngest ever patient: a two-year old Thai child (just her brain). Now the BBC has published a very good article with video covering the family. Both parents are highly educated medical scientists and really believe that we are not too far from when science can bring back the dead, so long as they or their brains have been frozen immediately upon death. I am very creeped out by this, but at the same time fascinated. The parents seem like very reasonable and compassionate human beings. Also see this interesting new article on the science behind cryonics as well as last month’s NY Times front page article on Kim Suozzi’s brain preservation via cryonics.

An interesting side note: I once met this lady at a conference and she told me that she was involved in the freezing of baseball legend Ted Williams at Alcor in 2002. She told me that even at the age of 83, his legs were extremely muscular!

— A good article on Japan’s push to lead the world in stem cell research, including fast tracking clinical trials. We in the hair loss world know all about this and are hoping that many western companies take advantage of these favorable laws and conduct their trials in Japan.

— DARPA seeks to treat bodies with light, electricity, sound and magnets.

— Instead of obsessing over Lamar Odom, the US media should be covering stories such as the ones above, or this one that will make you all fuzzy inside. Pipe dreams of course.