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June 27, 2007

Self assembled Peptides for medicine: more SENS 3 abstracts

Using the mammalian visual system as a model, we showed that a designed self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffold created a permissive environment not only for axons to regenerate through the site of an acute injury, but also to knit the brain tissue together, demonstrated by the return of lost vision.


Bleeding can be stopped in less than 15 seconds, in multiple tissues as well as a variety of different wounds, using a self-assembling peptide, demonstrating the first time that nanotechnology has been used to stop bleeding in a surgical setting for animal models that does not rely on heat, pressure, platelet activation, adhesion, or desiccation to stop bleeding.


Fulerene derivatives used to extend lifespan in mice

We have recently shown that a fullerene (C60) derivative (C3) with catalytic superoxide dismutase mimetic) properties extended the lifespan of mice, and had broad anti-aging effects. Chronically treated old mice had less impairment in learning and memory and a lower incidence of cancer. Treated mice also exhibited fewer aging changes in many tissues including kidney, brain, lymphocytes, and muscle, and demonstrated better mitochondrial metabolic function in brain and muscle. We have subsequently identified additional C60 derivatives that have differing antioxidant efficacy and biophysical properties, and are in the process of studying how these compounds might allow us to probe the contribution of different species of ROS to the aging process. Our data suggest that fullerene-based antioxidant synthetic enzymes (synzymes) may prove valuable as both research tools and interventions for oxidative stress in aging and age-related pathology.


Evidence that cryonics may work

Deep hypothermia can result in reversible arrest of neurological activity. The anatomical basis of mind is preserved much longer than six minutes in the absence of oxygen. Cryogenic vitrification can potentially preserve the anatomical basis of mind for many thousands of years. If future science is capable of rejuvenation, then future science should also be capable of reviving, curing and rejuvenating humans who were cryopreserved using cryonics technologies.


Engineering a blastema: steps toward regenerating a limb

One important lesson we have learned from salamanders is that the first step in successful regeneration is the process whereby limb cells revert to an embryonic state (dedifferentiation) and form the regeneration competent cells of the blastema. The process of dedifferentiation proceeds through a series of discrete steps, many of which we have identified. A second lesson is that the progeny of connective tissue fibroblasts control growth and pattern formation during regeneration, and therefore a major challenge is to understand how fibroblasts dedifferentiate to give rise to blastema cells. Finally, the success of regeneration is dependent on the early interactions between dedifferentiated fibroblasts and keratinocytes of the wound epidermis. Given that we can now identify the regeneration-competent cells and the critical interactions between those cells, it is possible to engineer a regeneration blastema so as to induce scar-free wound repair and regeneration in humans.


When Nature isn't wise: evolutionary medicine and human enhancement by Sandberg and Bostrom

We develop a heuristic, inspired by the field of evolutionary medicine, for identifying promising human enhancement interventions. The heuristic incorporates the grains of truth contained in "nature knows best" attitudes while providing criteria for the special cases where we have reason to believe that it is feasible for us to improve on nature. We apply this heuristic to suggested repairs of ageing damage, examining when it gives us a green light, where caution might be needed and where we need more data.

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