How systems medicine will transform the healthcare sector and society

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Ten years ago, the proposition that healthcare is evolving from reactive disease care to care that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory was regarded as highly speculative. Today, the core elements of that vision are widely accepted and have been articulated in a series of recent reports by the US Institute of Medicine.

Systems approaches to biology and medicine are now beginning to provide patients, consumers and physicians with personalized information about each individual’s unique health experience of both health and disease at the molecular, cellular and organ levels. This information will make disease care radically more cost effective by personalizing care to each person’s unique biology and by treating the causes rather than the symptoms of disease. It will also provide the basis for concrete action by consumers to improve their health as they observe the impact of lifestyle decisions.

Working together in digitally powered familial and affinity networks, consumers will be able to reduce the incidence of the complex chronic diseases that currently account for 75% of disease-care costs in the USA.

FULL TEXT: Personalized Medicine

Gregory Benford: Selection for longevity (in animals)

Genescient is the first biomedical company founded to exploit artificial selection of animal models for longevity. Their extremely long-lived animal models (Drosophila melanogaster) have been developed over 700 generations, creating an ideal system for the study of aging and age-related disease because Drosophila metabolic genetic pathways are highly conserved in humans. To date they have discovered over 100 genomic targets, all related to the primary diseases of aging.

The speaker: Gregory Benford is the founder of Genescient in Fountain Valley, California, a biomedical company that’s mission is to extend healthy human lifespan by using advanced genomics to develop therapeutic substances that attack the diseases of aging. He is also Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of California, Irvine. Professor Benford earned his PhD from the University of California, San Diego.

Telomerase: a reverse transcriptase

Telomerase is a special reverse transcriptase that carries its own RNA template (ribonucleoprotein) and can elongate telomeres. It has a strong presence in frequently dividing cells (to prevent loss of function). It is not present in all cells. Telomerase activity is enhanced in cancer cells.




Cellular senescence is one of hallmarks of aging and accumulation of senescent cells with age contributes to tissue or organismal aging, as well as the pathophysiologies of diverse age-related diseases. Genetic ablation of senescent cells in tissues lengthened health span and reduced the risk of age-related pathologies in a mouse model, suggesting a direct link between senescent cells, longevity, and age-related diseases. Therefore, senotherapeutics, medicines targeting senescent cells, might be an emerging strategy for the extension of health span, and prevention or treatment of age-related diseases.

Senotherapeutics are classified as senolytics which kills senescent cells selectively; senomorphics which modulate functions and morphology of senescent cells to those of young cells, or delays the progression of young cells to senescent cells in tissues; and immune-system mediators of the clearance of senescent cells. Some senolytics and senomorphics have been proven to markedly prevent or treat age-related diseases in animal models.

This review will present the current status of the development of senotherapeutics, in relation to aging itself and age-related diseases. Finally, future directions and opportunities for senotherapeutics use will discussed. This knowledge will provide information that can be used to develop novel senotherapeutics for health span and age-related diseases.