— What does your fund?
— First of all, the organization of scientific research. Today, the science of anti-aging is required to carry out their rather large range. This research in the field of regenerative medicine, the study of the fundamental mechanisms of aging experiments on creation of transgenic animals living longer than usual, the introduction into clinical practice of diagnosing aging and, of course, to develop and implement approaches that significantly prolongs the life of man. We are engaged in the organization as the research and promotion of the need to extend human life.
— What are the most significant studies, organized fund?
— The first — the increase in life expectancy drosophila flies 70%. Research conducted Doctor of Biology, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Radiobiology and Gerontology Institute of Biology of Komi Science Alexei Moskalev, and we financed them. Second — we realized relay technology with which Russia was first grown bioengineering trachea. It consists of using the artificial part of the patient’s own cells. Specially for this operation and the transfer of technology, we were invited to Russia Italian surgeon, a prominent specialist in regenerative medicine in Europe Paolo Macchiarini, who invented and implemented the technology of cultivation of bioengineered trachea. The whole project cost of 250 thousand euros.
Our foundation has helped Paolo Macchiarini prepare all the documents for megagranta, and as a result he received 150 mln. Rubles, which was created more good laboratory for regenerative medicine in Krasnodar. This was followed by two more operations on the cultivation and transplantation of the trachea, and is currently preparing a third operation.
Now, however, our main project Carrying out of conferences on the genetics of aging and longevity. This popularization, educational and scientific work. In April next year we will come to the conference the best scientists in the world and talk about their projects, including potential investors. An experiment can not solve the problem of aging. We need collaboration and a lot of effort. And since we have limited resources, such activity is currently the most useful and appropriate.
— Describe in detail the technology of growing trachea.
— First the frame of the polymers in the form of the airway tube.
The patient is cut out the affected area of the trachea, in its place is inserted into the frame. Next, the bone marrow cells are taken, sorted, selected stem cells. They are applied to the carcass and three growth factors were added. Within two weeks of epithelial tissue is formed, and the person breathes quietly. All the operations carried out successfully.
— You recently won a grant for technology transfer for growing liver. What ended this work?
— In the US there is a leading expert in the cultivation of bioengineered liver -Anthony Atala. He raised several types of tissue — about 30 s including the colonized mouse liver cells carcass. We asked him to try to do in Russia to fully operate a human liver. On this subject a lot of talk, and we even won the competition with this project, but then the competition was canceled. The Ministry of Defence decided that it is too ambitious a project.
— What is grown liver?
— There are three areas in the field of tissue engineering. First — Skeleton direction, as is the case with the trachea when we take the frame to put the cells, stimulating growth. There is still necessary to solve such a problem as vascularization, i.e. sprouting of blood vessels. We need a framework that will be able to keep the blood vessels and such frameworks already exist. In Voronezh there is a group of scientists led by Igor Artyuhova who managed to do it. When we have finished leakproof frame it we settle the cells, giving these cells, growth factors, differentiation factors hepatocytes (to form the needed cells). The liver grows and turns body.
The second way -SD-bioprinting when we chat on the printer print fabric, such as cartilage. 3D-mechanical printer is the usual arrangement in which instead of ink «filled» certain cells, and it puts them in the proper sequence to the desired shape. Organic company has already made with the help of this method of bone. Also there is a bladder that is printed on a printer. It is a hollow body, so it is easy to print and transplanted. Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine Veyk Forest Anthony Atala performed this transplant bladder. But a functioning organ, printed on 3D-printer yet.
The third way -Mechanism embryogenesis, with which you can make the necessary authority up to us himself. For example, one cell, knowing development program can grow into a whole liver.
— It is really possible, or is it just a theory?
— That’s the theory, but because we grow from a single cell. Similarly, the body can grow.
I am a supporter of this particular method. In general, I support the overarching human cloning as a technology, and I believe that it is no different from in vitro fertilization.
— What are the trends in science should be developed to immortality became a reality?
— Genetics is the main direction. Even if we are talking about anti-aging, then, ultimately, it’s like genetics. We are working with certain substances in the genes. Second -regenerativnaya medicine, when we grow organs. Third -kiborgizatsiya bodies when we replace the various organs of their artificial counterparts. Artificial heart, for example, has been implanted. And if we can create an artificial blood that will deliver everything you need for the brain, we do not really going to need other organs. If we create an exoskeleton, it will be much stronger than people.
Moreover, there are even some experiments to simulate the brain regions such as cerebellum. Finally, the fourth line -modelirovanie consciousness, that is, the transference of consciousness to another medium.
— It sounds too fantastic …
— Yes, it’s fantastic, but just in this direction, there are two projects -Blue Brain («Blue Brain») and Human Connectome («CONNECT man»).
Under one billion dollars allocated under the other — three billion dollars, and I think a complete map of neural connections of the brain will be done quite quickly. This 100 billion. Neurons. Scientists plan to make a complete computer model of the brain. The projects are implemented in the US and in Europe.
By the way, there is also a fifth area in case if a person is already dead, it cryonics. Cryonics -Best action in the worst circumstances. Even if the person is dead, we can put it in liquid nitrogen and wait for the technology of the future, who will be able to restore the functioning of the organism. In principle, the concept of what death is, I am in the history of mankind. At first, the death was considered immobilization, then -ostanovka breath, then -ostanovka heart now -ostanovka electromagnetic activity of the brain. However, the stem cells are then still live for a whole week. So we let them freeze and wait for technologies that’s what we thought before death, in the future, those will not be. Therefore, cryonics is one of the most important areas in the prolongation of human life. — Why is Russia so few realized projects in the field of anti-aging research?
— We organized two laboratories in non-laboratory MIPT aging and longevity, and a laboratory of Regenerative Medicine, but we have to search for the money to them can be carried out some work. Head of the laboratory must themselves find the necessary money. So, unfortunately, our job is basically to apply for the grants, and most of them are not satisfied. Most often, our claims are not his understanding and it’s difficult to say why. Maybe because we can not explain to the public the need to extend life.
— Are private investors are not interested in this kind of research?
— Of course, we are looking for private investors and are discussing this issue with many billionaires, but it is not so easy.
People think that it is easier to wait when they invented a cure for aging, just to buy them, and therefore do not want to invest now in these studies. Business focuses on business results, an immediate return. But we need basic research. If a person comes to the businessman, who promises soon to make a cure for old age, he will receive the money, because it supposedly offers a simple and quick solution. Another issue that it may simply not working. We consider research needs, research that is very likely to lead to an increase in life expectancy, but it’s a long, large and risky way. For it is not so easy to decide. To do this, very much want to live and love life more than money.
— What are the main achievements in the field of genetics of aging, you can highlight?
— In genetics, there are several directions. First, is the creation of animals that live much longer than normal. The most significant achievement belongs Shmukler Robert Rees, Professor, University of Arkansas, which is 10 times increased the life expectancy of a worm, the nematode. Many such experiments, including experiments Alexei Moskalev, which extended the life of the fruit fly by 70%.
Separately, I would pick such a direction as creating viruses longevity when we put a viral construct containing the desired gene, we, in certain animal tissue, causing the animal lives longer.
For Maria Blasco, a geneticist from Spain, last year was able to increase the life expectancy of annuals old mice by about 24%, and the biennial — by 12%.
The virus is embedded in the piece of DNA, in this case it was part of the DNA encoding the telomerase.
This enzyme is responsible for ensuring that the end portions of chromosomes — the telomeres — not shortened.
And it’s not so much just in telomerase, but the fact that we have a number of genes that could theoretically provide us with longevity. The activity of these genes decreases with age, and it would be good to support it. If we could activate these genes, and about a hundred of them are known, then there is a very high probability that the animal will live longer in the future, and people.
— Why do people grow old?
— Aging is largely due to the fact that under the influence of the environment we work is changing genes. Genes associated with stress, gradually stop working. Genes stress is, in fact, is the longevity genes. It is the genes responsible for DNA repair, autophagy, regeneration, etc. And it would be good to activate them. Drugs in general, focused on the inhibition, ie for disabling any processes. And we must, on the contrary, encourage. That’s just the ability to create such viral structure is an inspiring way to extend the life of older animals have what we need. After all, we want to extend the life of the people already living. I believe that this is the most promising direction.
Manipulation of one such gene are about two million dollars. Accordingly, 100 genes — 200 million. Dollars. A combination of genes — and a half billion dollars. Here’s a real price for such studies. Of course, it is difficult to find someone who is willing to invest that kind of money.
— What can an ordinary person do to prolong life?
— First, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Second, stick to a low calorie diet. Third, to carry out a constant diagnosis of the organism. You need to know as much as possible options.
In this regard, best done by Michael Schneider is a principal molecular biologist at Stanford, who last year became the measure at 40 000 different parameters. Thus, he was able to prevent diabetes.
Modern methods of sequencing (genome -prim.’s) And analysis of molecular information are becoming cheaper. Now we can see the parameters of a million SNPs in just 200 dollars. Under the transcript, I primarily mean transcript epigenome, that is how the genome works. In addition, the decoding of the transcriptome, that is, which are obtained from the transcripts of the genome and proteome analysis — which proteins in the body. And the more we know about yourself, the more we anticipate certain diseases and be able to influence them. Implementation of diagnosis of aging in clinical practice — an urgent task. I myself once came to the European Medical Center and asked the doctor: «I’m getting old. What can you tell me? «And he laughed in response. And it was the old age is Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Type II diabetes, osteoporosis, and a huge number of cardiovascular diseases. All this — the aging, and he has his reasons. Hence, it is necessary to act. But people do not even want to recognize that aging is a disease, or at least a syndrome that requires treatment.
— How realistic is now prolonging life?
— The objective of prolonging life, in fact, not so much scientific as technological. We are now at about the same situation, which was in the planning space missions. That is simply a political decision.
All that is needed to prolong life, we already know. We know what you need to carry out experiments that are highly likely to lead to an increase of life. At least, they have resulted in the animal experiments. And we can strengthen these experiments, to diversify and to succeed. The only question is the creation of a global project, such as manned space flight or Hadron Collider.
Moreover, the task of prolonging life is not only technical, but also political, because for realization of this project we need political will.
For this purpose, the extension of human life was considered important for the state. Now, however, the money that could go to the prolongation of human life, leaving its reduction — the army, re-equipment, military equipment and so on. N. This is our biggest problem. Therefore, our task -perelomit situation.
— Michael, why you became engaged in the subject of prolonging life, not being a scientist?
— I think this is a logical step for any person. Whatever doing, what would any of us get carried away, it needs to be alive. I chaired the Committee on Social Policy in the Kostroma Regional Duma, and realized that many people help is no longer possible due to aging. From my professional activity it is evident that aging is what makes human life into a tragedy.
However, many perceive aging as a kind of absolute reality, with which nothing can be done. And actually, you can. Each of us can afford to add 10 years of life, just doing every day for an hour physical activity mode aerobics. This is the easiest step. And then what can make molecular biology? If using genetic manipulation has managed to extend the life of an animal 10 times, then why not do it for humans?
In general, it should be said that in this direction is remarkably small, and the theme itself is simply taboo. When I started doing it, I was shocked that fact and shocking so far. The situation is gradually changing, but it is still interested in the fight against aging in the community is too small to have been created by major science programs.
— Those manipulations of genes, which were carried out on animals, has never been carried out in public?
— No, because it’s very expensive. But something was still done. Already there are a number of genetic medicines, one of which was recently developed in Russia, and it is a great achievement. Now there is a renaissance of gene therapy, and this is mainly due to cancer. That is, in the case of certain genetic diseases preparations have already been introduced into clinical practice.
But to pull it off for aging, need to do something else. First you need to learn how to diagnose. We know how to diagnose diabetes, pancreatitis, or psoriasis, and aging — not.
And this is a problem. We need to develop a method of diagnosis of aging to understand that this process is such a work of genes, that these proteins represent aging.
Drugs anti-aging, which could potentially extend the life of a man already. However, clinical trials are needed. They could spend more in the XX century, just tried everything that is sold in pharmacies. Aspirin, rapamycin, resveratrol, succinic acid, Vitamin D — how they act on longevity? Such experiments have not been conducted. Therefore it is now necessary to create a diagnostic platform of aging, so-called biomarkers of aging. To create it in a clinical trial should be involved tens of thousands of people should be involved hospital. We write these grant applications, but so far do not give money. In order to deploy large-scale studies, besides the political will.