Caloric restriction slows brain aging

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at
Wed Jul 5 14:13:39 EST 2000

Mike Reilly wrote:

> Does this mean that the recent successes with beta (islet) cells is
> indicative of a potential breakthrough in aging research.

It's a breakthrough in aging research, but not for reasons connected
with gene therapy - see below.

> My understanding is that they have succesfully inserted insulin
> production using somatic cell therapy.

Right - not somatic GENE therapy.  Many aspects of aging are due to
depletion in the number we have of a particular type of cell, and this
is an example; in many such cases it should be possible to replenish
that cell type by introducing cells grown ex vivo. Gene therapy means
introducing DNA synthesised ex vivo into cells that are already in vivo.
This is what Geron, Roslin, ACT etc are pursuing and it's definitely
of enormous value in anti-aging research.  But there are aspects of
aging that somatic cell therapy is fundamentally inapplicable to,
namely those which are not related to cell loss: these include the
accumulation of intracellular junk (particularly lipofuscin), and
also accumulation of mutations (including mitochondrial ones).  Gene
therapy approaches to reversing much of this have been suggested, but
not cell therapy ones.

Aubrey de Grey

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