Anti-aging tech trends you need to know about

As technology continues to evolve, humans have more and more tools at their disposal to hold off the hands of time. Anyone wanting to look — or feel — more youthful has any number of resources available to explore.

But anti-aging isn’t just about looking younger and more attractive: It’s about returning a higher quality of life to people who suffer from age-related chronic health conditions.

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Unsurprisingly, the costs of treating these conditions continue to skyrocket. For instance, private nursing homes can cost close to $100,000 every year. And because Medicare doesn’t cover long-term visits, so many people across the nation have to spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid.

With that in mind, the most important aspect of anti-aging research is helping to lower exorbitant healthcare costs for age-related health issues. As it stands, technology may be the best way to achieve that goal.

Factors contributing to the anti-aging revolution

To nobody’s shock, technological advances play a prominent role in the ever-evolving capabilities possessed by anti-aging. But where is the bulk of that support being seen?

Scientific innovation has the potential to provide two key components for advancing anti-aging research. The first is the simulation model system, which allows you to precast and adjust different scenarios to save time. It also enables you to input different factors in your research to forecast for different outcomes.

The second key is the cloud system and how we computerize all the data that we collect. The system’s design is currently insufficient for data collection for the aging population.

But once we standardize the system more, the technology could provide large, reliable data sources to help us make the best choices in anti-aging research and treatment options. Reliable data and prognostications can establish more widely accepted treatments that benefit a wider net of patients.

Technological advances have already changed much of the world, and anti-aging research is no exception. As the science’s capabilities continue to grow, medical professionals are finding more chances to drill down to specific symptoms, ailments, and concerns not traditionally addressed by anti-aging.

Here is a pair of important technological trends that can specifically boost anti-aging research:

Rejuvenation of organ capacity

Organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys carry a reserve of energy that allows them to function beyond their typical demands. As we age, however, our organs lose their vitality and must work harder. For instance, a 20-year-old’s heart moves 10 times the amount of blood a body needs, though 1 percent of that amount is lost each year after a person turns 30. Many chronic illnesses are influenced by this dysfunctional or decreasing organ capacity, and one of the biggest trends relates to the physical rejuvenation of aging-related organ degeneration.

By focusing on rejuvenation, the anti-aging industry can provide more solutions to eliminate these chronic illnesses, rather than just reducing symptoms. It will truly revolutionize the way we look at chronic illnesses, as well as alleviate the economic burden placed on the government and the healthcare industry.

Pathology of neurodegeneration

Every year, the National Institutes of Health spend nearly $480 million researching Alzheimer’s disease. The most significant challenge to comprehending such aging-related neurodegenerative diseases is their causes, so a pathological map would be valuable in understanding those causes and designing solutions.

Technology related to this area could open a new field of market focus, appeasing society and allowing it to live without concerns about dementia. It would also conclude the work of thousands of scientists and researchers who have been studying neurodegenerative disorders for decades.

Rejuvenating organ tissues and gaining a better understanding of neurodegeneration are only two of the upcoming trends poised to change healthcare in 2017 and beyond. But they’re among the most important trends to monitor, especially for patients dealing with age-related conditions.

Those cases — along with their families and the healthcare system — are increasingly feeling the burden of chronic aging-related diseases. Let technology lighten that load.

Photo: Pr3t3nd3r, Getty Images

Google’s life-prolonging moonshot Calico partners with C4 Therapeutics

If you haven’t heard of Calico, that’s by design. The mysterious biotech spun out of Google (now Alphabet) in 2013, with a mission to unravel the biological mechanisms of aging.

C4 Therapeutics, on the other hand, is focused on protein degradation. Its aim is to develop therapies “for patients with life-threatening and life-impairing conditions.”

On Thursday, the two companies announced a five-year collaboration to move possible age- and/or cancer-related therapies into the clinic.

The joint statement was the first mention of ‘aging’ on C4T’s website. Why does that matter? It offers insight into how Calico – aka the California Life Company – plans to realize its moonshot mission.

In a nutshell, there’s no miracle elixir on the horizon. The idea is to prevent disease, not prolong life. That will a require an ongoing series of medical “interventions,” the term used on the company’s website. Based on Calico’s previous agreement with the personal genetics company AncestryDNA, it looks like the interventions will also be highly personalized.

Protein degradation fits in as a tool for prolonging death from diseases such as cancer.

In an email forwarded by a company representative, C4T President and CSO Andrew Phillips said Calico contacted the company in 2016 to discuss a partnership. As part of the agreement, C4T will contribute its expertise to the discovery and validation of small molecule “protein degraders” that can reduce disease-causing proteins in the body.

How central is protein production to the maintenance of human health? Very, Phillips said.

“Overall homeostasis of proteins (the balance of protein synthesis and protein degradation) is of great importance to normal health. In some cases, an excess of a protein can be central to disease (e.g. overexpression of an oncogenic protein) and in other cases, erroneous protein degradation can result in disease (e.g. the teratogenic effects of thalidomide.) Many neurodegenerative disorders also provide examples of misbalanced synthesis and degradation of proteins.”

It’s also notable that the contract clearly separates the research and discovery obligations (C4T), from the clinical development and any possible commercialization, which would be handled by Calico.

Even as a series of interventions, proving a therapy or therapies can slow aging or increase lifespans is a battle unto itself. Calico’s all-star cast of scientists from the fields of medicine, drug development, molecular biology, genetics, and computational biology, will all be needed to develop any possible drugs and chart a clinical course forward.

It’s a big undertaking, but they don’t plan to do it alone. The bulk of the content on the company’s scant website is dedicated to future collaborations.

“We are most interested in external opportunities at the research and early development stage within these areas of focus,” it reads, highlighting conditions that often occur alongside aging: oncology, neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.

“We also believe that, in some cases, programs focused on patients with rare diseases may present unique opportunities to explore aging biology in the context of therapeutic development,” the website states.

Along with C4T, deals have been hashed out with QB3, the Broad Institute, AbbVie2M and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Each represents a small puzzle piece that adds to an incomplete picture of how Calico plans to realize its moonshot.

Photo: John Sullivan, Getty Images