Dear GRG Member,
Craig Venter and Human Longevity, Inc.
Life Extension Magazine
High points of article – tried to not leave anything out:
Best to read the whole thing. Link below.
– Venter launched an ambitious and expensive commercial venture to amass and electronically analyze the medical, genomic, microbiomic, and metabolic data of 40,000 individuals every year. And eventually, 100,000 individuals a year.
– The goal is to identify biologically relevant patterns in these interconnected data—patterns that may eventually reveal different ways to block the complex interactions that trigger age-related diseases and even aging itself.
– Costs of genomic sequencing have declined from $100,000 to $1000
– Low cost sequencing is essential because we need to sequence hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of individuals to truly understand how genes influence disease and aging—so that more specifically targeted drugs, treatments, and preventive strategies can be developed.
– Initially management considers cancer the most likely area of genomic research to deliver immediately actionable results.
– They plan to also concentrate on diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and liver disease, diseases that the company views as, “some of the most difficult to treat, let alone cure, [the] diseases affecting people as they age.”
– Venter hired a diverse crew of experts in genomics, stem cells, cancer, translational medicine, the microbiome, and emerging technologies.
– He plans to collaborate with companies in the genetics and stem cell arena, with large hospital systems and clinics that will utilize his firm’s services, with pharmaceutical companies that can discover and develop new therapeutics, and with academics.
– It’s just one leg of Venter’s broader strategic plan.
– With preliminary funding of $70 million in hand, mostly from wealthy investors, Human Longevity plans to also concentrate on diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and liver disease, diseases that the company views as, “some of the most difficult to treat, let alone cure, [the] diseases affecting people as they age.”
– Human Longevity will use mass spectrometry to document individuals’ metabolomes—the constantly changing array of small molecules of biochemicals and lipids circulating throughout participants’ bodies.
– While genome sequencing can reveal information about inherited risk of disease or hint at how long a person will live, metabolic data can clarify how environment, diet, and other factors affect an individual’s health and life span. Metabolic data also help researchers interpret genomic information. Pinpointing a particular gene as important in a disease or a normal cellular process does not, in itself, clarify what that gene actually does. But if a particular metabolite is found to correlate with a particular genetic signal, then researchers can zero-in on the function of the gene. The relevance of blood biochemistry is underscored by the fact these metabolites change as we age—to such an extent that an analysis of blood metabolites can reveal a person’s specific age.
– However, aging and human cell behavior changes are not the only cause of changes in blood metabolites. The microbes in our bodies—which outnumber human cells 10 to one—generate metabolites that can be detected in the blood.
– Human Longevity will also be mapping at least some participants’ microbiomes—the complete makeup of the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi living in each individual’s gut, mouth, and other body sites, as well as on the skin.
– Venter plans to deliver predictive and preventive medicine on a revolutionary scale by discovering the very earliest warning signs for susceptibility to chronic illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
– He envisions blocking the interconnected pathways of these diseases with specific, new interventions tailored to each individual’s distinct profile.
– Just one way Venter aspires to accomplish this is by translating a web of personalized data into stem cell therapies.
– He expects to use techniques developed at his existing company, Synthetic Genomics, to rewrite the genetic code of stem cells to correct errors and use stem cell therapy as one of the key adjuvants to changing long-term health and aging outcomes.
– Human Longevity is going to change the way medicine is practiced by helping to shift to a more preventive, genomic-based medicine model, which we believe will lower healthcare costs.”
– Extending the number of healthy years will require focusing, not on individual diseases, but on aging.
– Why aging?
o “The easiest answer is that aging is a central component of every disease that we want to address therapeutically,” said Robert Hariri, MD, PhD Vice-Chairman and Co-Founder. “We believe that many of the processes at the cellular and the genomic level that we call aging are related and connected.”
o Venter said “Our goal is to make 100 years old the new 60.”
John M. “Johnny” Adams
Executive Director Gerontology Research Group
(949) 922-9786 cell
CEO / Exec. Director
Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation / Aging Intervention Foundation