May 20, 2019
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Life Biosciences funds MDI Biological Laboratory aging course

Community Author: Stefanie Matteson
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Stefanie Matteson | BDN
Stefanie Matteson | BDN

Course Attracts Leading Scientists in Aging Research from Around the World

BAR HARBOR — The MDI Biological Laboratory has announced that Life Biosciences, a biotech company co-founded by David Sinclair, Ph.D., a leading researcher on aging and age-related diseases, has contributed $100,000 to fund its biomedical innovation course on aging.

Other sponsors of the recent course, Comparative and Experimental Approaches to Aging Biology Research, included the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and the Gerontological Society of America.

The intensive, two-week course attracted students from around the globe to study the latest advances in the biology of aging with the leaders in the field, and to gain hands-on experience in working with the techniques and laboratory models used to study aging.

The course emphasized the advantages of various model animal systems for addressing mechanisms relevant to the field. The participants engaged in hypothesis-driven research utilizing experimental methods including CRISPR, mRNA translation profiling, microinjection of animal models, quantitative fluorescence microscopy (QFM) and health/survival assays.

The course also featured a “Live Longer, Live Better” lecture series for the public which included a talk by Sinclair.

The aim of the lecture series was to bridge the gap between the public’s perception of how close science is to extending healthy lifespan, and what is really occurring. The speakers described many therapies now under development for extending lifespan and delaying the onset of the age-related degenerative diseases. The series is available for viewing on the MDI Biological Laboratory’s YouTube channel.

“The biggest thing that will happen in this century is our ability to control biology,” Sinclair said in his lecture, which was entitled “Why Reversing Aging is Easier Than Reversing Baldness.” “It’s happening so fast that even I cannot believe it. I am regularly reading about things that even as recently as two years ago were considered — if not impossible — then far-in-the-future technologies. My head is spinning.”

The course, which was first held in 2016, is an outgrowth of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to extend healthy lifespan by developing new therapies to prevent or repair damage due to age-related degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“Both Life Biosciences and the MDI Biological Laboratory view many of today’s biggest health challenges — from Alzheimer’s and heart disease to cancer and macular degeneration — as responses to the aging process,” said David Setboun, vice president of the Academy, a not-for-profit branch of Life Biosciences. “By attacking the aging process, we can also attack its manifestations.”

Life Biosciences is focused on extending “healthspan” — or the period of life spent in good health — by researching the eight components of aging in order to delay or reverse them. The Boston-based company, described by Sinclair as a “Manhattan Project” for aging, serves as an investment platform for a group of early-stage biotech companies focused on these critical components.

“The partnership with Life Biosciences is a natural extension of our goal to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying aging,” said MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Aric Rogers, Ph.D., director of the aging course. “Once we have gained a better understanding of these mechanisms, we can design therapeutics to improve quality of life as we grow older.”

The course represents a natural link between the scientists at Life Biosciences, who are at the forefront of aging research, and the next generation of aging biology scientists,  who will continue to build on the rapidly accelerating body of knowledge in the field, he added.

“The introduction of therapies to prolong healthy lifespan isn’t science fiction — it’s happening right now,” said Hermann Haller, M.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. “The partnership with Life Biosciences represents the wave of the future. We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship.”

About the MDI Biological Laboratory 

We are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on developing drugs that slow age-related degenerative diseases and activate our natural ability to heal. Our unique approach has identified potential therapies that could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease, muscular dystrophy and more. Through the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation we are preparing students for 21st century careers and equipping entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to turn discoveries into applications that improve human health and well-being. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.

 About Life Biosciences 

Life Biosciences’ mission is to improve and extend lives by treating aging as a disease and unleashing untapped human potential around the world. We empower scientists to develop drugs and treatments that promote longer, healthier lives. For more information, please visit lifebiosciences.com/.