Possible longivity breakthrough

Kathryn Aegis (aegis@igc.apc.org)
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 22:12:19 +0000

Call it a memetic convergence, the meeting of like minds--I've had
the most amazing afternoon! I visited a 'salon' this afternoon and
was introduced to two medical researchers from College Park,
Maryland, who are currently preparing to conduct human toxicity
screenings of a breakthrough set of drugs that boost the efficacy of
chemotherapy or act as a single-agent therapy by stimulating the body's
immune system. One of these drugs, Betathine, in animal trials involving
melanoma, myeloma and breast cancer in mice either prevented the
formation of cancer cells or caused remission of existing cells. And it
showed very low toxicity in comparison to recombinant immune stimulants
or chemotherapeutic agents.

That in itself is exciting enough, but this set of drugs has three
implications that are of interest to transhumanists. (i) The
term 'nanopharmaceuticals' has been copyrighted to this set of drugs,
because the doses are as small as 30 nanograms. (ii) If human trials
go well, it will be possible in ten years for genetically predisposed
humans to take a minute dose monthly to prevent the onset of specific
types of cancer. (iii) Preliminary application to cells taken from
persons suffering from premature-aging syndromes resulted in a halt in
cellular deterioration, leading to speculation regarding a secondary use
in anti-aging therapies.

When human trials begin (the first is slated to focus on prevention
of breast cancer in genetically predisposed women), I am sure that we
will be hearing more about progress on this area of research. They
are in the process of setting up a nonprofit foundation to bring
together resources to focus on this work, and a web site will be part
of that. I will be sure to post the URL to these lists.


Kathryn Aegis