The Challenge and Opportunity
Our society has never aged more rapidly – one of the most visible symptoms of the changing demographics is the exponential increase in the incidence of age-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and osteoarthritis. Not only does ageing have a negative effect on the quality of life but it also causes a significant financial strain on both private and public sector – two-fifths of the NHS budget is spent on the citizens who are over 65 years old. Few effective products addressing these challenges are currently available and most of them focus on a single disease rather than adopting a more holistic approach to ageing.
Recently a new approach which has the potential of significantly alleviating these problems has been validated by a number of in vivo and in vitro studies. It has been demonstrated that senescent cells (cells which have ceased to replicate due to stress or replicative capacity exhaustion) are linked to many age-related diseases. Their removal has drastically increased mice healthspan (period of life free of serious disease).
Human population by age. Data from www.census.gov
Death cause by age group, USA 2013
Data from http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leadingcauses.html
Our technology concept is rooted in the combination of two exciting research fields: synthetic biology and ageing research. We are constructing genetic circuits which will allow us to specifically target senescent cells while sparing the healthy ones. Our systems will screen for a large number of biomarkers and will therefore allow for a safe, precise and more efficient targeting.
What are senescent cells?
One of the reasons the incidence of age-related diseases (such as cancer, arteriosclerosis or osteoporosis) increase as we age is the accumulation of senescent cells. These cells stopped dividing either due to stress or age of the cell. Although these cells have short term positive role in wound healing and preventing tumour formation, in long term they continue to have a negative effect on healthy surrounding cells. They can become cancerous and cause local chronic inflammation which contributes to a number of diseases. Studies on mice (Baker 2016) have shown that removing senescent cells can greatly improve health and extend lifespan by ~30%.
Are you a life extension company?
Our company’s mission is to make people live healthier lives. We expect that our tools and therapies will help extend human healthspan (a period of life free of serious disease) for patient suffering from various age-related diseases and eventually for healthy individuals as well. We are not focusing on extending human life span just for the sake of it.
How can I get involved?
Being a young company we are always looking for partners and people eager to get involved. We love engaging with the community and always appreciate the hard work of activists, lobbyists, (video)bloggers or journalists who raise the awareness of importance of ageing research. If you would like to learn more or get involved in some way please do get in touch - we would be happy to hear from you.