Biology

A Short Commentary by Reason from the Giant Health Conference in 2019



I had quite forgotten about the video of this short commentary I’d given last year at Giant Health in London. I was recently prompted for a transcript by someone, and so here it is. This conference was a mainstream health event, not normally a place that would have any great focus on longevity and aging. However, the Aikora Health principals had claimed one of the stages and put together a set of presentations from various people involved in the development of means to treat aging, myself included. All of us were ambushed by interviewers with cameras at some point in the proceedings, and hence this video.

Longevity research and gene therapy: where are we now?

Certainly this event is an example of some of the people in our longevity community coming in and just taking over a little bit of somebody else’s conference to talk about longevity … but really exposing the rest of the community to it. I’m finding that at every event I go to, I’d really love to have conference presentations where I get to talk about some interesting thing about the longevity industry, because there are a lot of really interesting things going on.

But every presentation turns out to be “hey, we exist, please notice us – because this is really, really important.” Everything that you guys think that you are doing in medicine is about to be up-ended, because suddenly we’re going to be actually able to stop people from getting sick and incapacitated and debilitated in old age. This is happening right now, the first rejuvenation therapies exist. But nobody notices.

It is that interesting, weird stage of development where a thing has happened, but not everybody yet realizes that it has happened, and there is an awful lot of advocacy still needed to shove this great idea down everyone’s throats, make them pay attention. That in fact, actually, yes, 50% of everyone with arthritis in old age probably do not need to have arthritis. They could go take a $100 senolytic drug combination and it would go away. This is news to you, and it is news to most people here. It needs to not be news and people need to get on and do this.

Since I run a gene therapy company, it is nice to see a whole gene therapy stage talk about that topic. Gene therapy is very much a wave. When we started Repair Biotechnologies, before we even knew what we were going to do, we said “this will be a gene therapy company.” This is because it is self-evidently the case that a lot of small molecule development is going to go away and be replaced by gene therapy. Gene therapy is more precise, you can do more with it, and it is definitely easier to evolve a gene therapy program than a small molecule program. So this part of the field is really important, and it is really important that more people get out and talk about this.

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