Re: AGING: Life extension

Twink (
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 19:51:33 -0500 (EST)

At 09:35 PM 1/4/98 +0100, Anders Sandberg <> wrote:
>> In some/many cases, there might be psychological benefits. Naturally,
>> it'd be great to rejuvenate/replace the immune or endocrine systems.
>> However, some people tend to get very depressed over, say, their
>> looks. Ergo, skin replacement might alleviate that problem AND allow
>> research on that organ (the skin) to carry over to others (the endocrine?).
>> The fit here is loose, but not so loose as to make it unlikely.
>Well, you are right, but the psychological benefits will not help
>extend life significantly as far as I know, and the dangers of
>transplants should not be underestimated (the more medicine I learn,
>the less eager I am for invasive surgery :-).

My point though was research in one area might help in others.

>> totipotent cells is another area to investigate. It is my understanding,
>> this is not hard, given some experiments with transplanting embryo
>> brain cells to Parkinson's sufferers (human or otherwise, I can't recall).
>Human and animals. There have been a lot of work done in this field,
>and the results are starting to appear. So far it looks like the
>transplants help, but not much. But animal studies show that nerve
>grafts can do some amazing things (turning and growing in the right
>direction, finding the right targets etc), so I think there is reason
>to be hopeful. I don't know if anybody has yet looked at what happens
>if you implant totiopotent cells as regarding to aging.

It would be very interesting work. The test design would seem simple
enough. Skin might be easiest to work with, since it is on the surface.
For instance, taking totipotent cells, grafting them to a skin site and
seeing how they differentiate under the influence of hormones...

>> I was under the impression that gene therapy was already being done
>> with genetically engineered cells which provided products directly
>> inside/to the body. I see no principled reason why this can't be done
>> for hormones or Vitamin C or what have you.
>That should work. The problem might be where to put them, but for
>substances that are very bioactive not many cells are needed. One fun
>possibility is otherwise to use engineered gut bacteria - they produce
>vitamin K, so why not C?

Actually, a friend (Brett, are you out there?) and I discussed such with gut
bacteria a few years ago. He thought it wouldn't happen because
bacteria share DNA too easily, making it hard to sell. However, if we don't
care about that all that much, then why not?

Daniel Ust