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More SENS5 Conference Materials

Posted: September 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I see that Maria Konovalenko has posted notes on a few of the presentations on longevity science given at SENS5:

Dr. Laura Niklasson from Yale University is working on lung engineering. Human lung is an extremely complicated organ. There's 23 generations of branching of airways, they are up to 200 microns in diameter. 70 square meters for gas exchange. More than 100 million air sacks all together. Engineered lung must have right mechanical properties, autologous cells, adequate surface area for gas exchange and adequate barrier to prevent flooding of airways with blood constituents after implantation. ... Scientists implanted engineered half lung in a rat. It was 95% as efficient as a native lung in terms of gas exchange. But in several hours they got thrombosis. Also they saw a little bit of blood cells in airways, so the barrier was not perfect. After being improved this technique can be used to engineering human lungs.


John Jackson gave a beautiful overview of thymic involution and told us about the ongoing experiments in the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine on thymus engineering.


I personally found the talk by Dr. Charles Greer the most fascinating one. Aparently, there is a subsytem in our brain that is constantly regenerating. The rate and quality of this regeneration process doesn't decline with age. It's the olfactory system. Sensory neurons in olfactory system die every 6-8 weeks. Neurogenesis is constant. New neurons come from the subventricular zone. It's like a river of migrating neurons to olfactory bulb.

Meanwhile, the SENS Foundation volunteers are steadily uploading conference video to a YouTube channel - the John Jackson presentation on tissue engineering for the thymus is amongst those already available:

You might also find the following presentation to be of interest. It's a part of the broader LysoSENS program, which involves finding ways to safely remove the age-related build up of various damaging metabolic byproducts and other chemicals that our cellular recycling mechanisms normally struggle with. One of these compounds is 7-ketocholesterol:

7-ketocholesterol (7KC) is a cytotoxic oxysterol that plays a role in many age-related degenerative diseases. 7KC formation and accumulation occur in the lysosomes in a number of cell types, hindering enzymatic transformation, and increasing the chance for lysosomal membrane permeabilization.

We assayed the potential to mitigate 7KC cytotoxicity and enhance cell viability by transiently transfecting human fibroblasts to overexpress several 7KC-active enzymes. One of our engineered constructs, a lysosomally-targeted cholesterol oxidase that lacked isomerization activity, significantly increased cell viability

Orchestrated by the SENS Foundation, progress is slowly being made in developing the roots of what probably at first be drugs, designed molecules - possibly attached to targeting mechanisms like tailored nanoparticles - that either break down 7-ketcholesterol and other varied harmful compounds we'd be better off without or instruct the cell itself to better perform that task. The only thing stopping that progress from being faster is a lack of large-scale funding.


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