Mike West: Stem Cells
Dan Pardi speaks with Dr. Mike West, CEO of AgeX Therapeutics. Here, we discuss a variety of important questions related to the science and potential of stem cells to positively influence human health including: The distinction between progenitor cells and stem cells; what goes wrong with stem cells during senescence; current clinical uses of stem cell therapies; what Dr. West’s team is working on at AgeX; and the future of stem cell therapies.
Age is the primary risk factor for the vast majority of disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases impacting brain function. Whether the consequences of aging at the biological level can be reversed, or age-related changes prevented, to change the trajectory of such disorders is thus of extreme interest and value.
Studies using young plasma, the acellular component of blood, have demonstrated that aging is malleable, with the ability to restore functions in old animals. Fascinatingly, this functional improvement is even observed in the brain, despite the blood-brain barrier, indicating that peripheral sources can effectively impact central sites leading to clinically relevant changes such as enhancement of cognitive function.
A plasma-based approach is also attractive as aging is inherently complex, with an array of mechanisms dysregulated in diverse cells and organs throughout the body leading to disturbed function. Plasma, containing a natural mixture of components, has the ability to act multimodally, modulating diverse mechanisms that can converge to change the trajectory of age-related diseases.
Here we review the evidence that plasma modulates aging processes in the brain and consider the therapeutic applications that derive from these observations. Plasma and plasma-derived therapeutics are an attractive translation of this concept, requiring critical consideration of benefits, risks, and ethics. Ultimately, knowledge derived from this science will drive a comprehensive molecular understanding to deliver optimized therapeutics. The potential of highly differentiated, multimodal therapeutics for treatment of age-related brain disorders provides an exciting new clinical approach to address the complex etiology of aging.
FULL TEXT: Neurotherapeutics
Hallmarks of aging?
What are the hallmarks of aging? Why is it over time cells become less functional? This video will introduce you to the nine different hallmarks of aging including the primary causes of damage, the responses to the damage and the systemic hallmarks.