Can A Scientific Dream Team End Aging?

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No one wants to get old. But how can we stop and even reverse aging?

Perhaps a Dream Team of the world’s greatest scientists. And a whole lot of money.

Well, that just became a reality.

For those of us who follow venture capital, the news hit like a bomb. Previously unknown Altos Labs burst onto the scene with a $3 billion seed round, likely the largest early stage fundraise in history.

To put that in perspective, a typical seed round is more like $1-3 million.

Altos will be putting that money in the hands of some of the world’s top scientists.

Noted antiaging researchers like Izpisúa Belmonte and Alejandro Ocampo are on board. Nobel Laureates Shinya Yamanaka and Jennifer Doudna have also joined as advisers.

Altos has promised salaries over $1 million, generous research budgets, and autonomy. Plus, no more constant grant writing.

So can aging be reversed? New findings suggest it may be possible.

Just last September, researchers succeeded in reversing aging in mouse hearts using Shinya Yamanaka’s Yamanaka Factors:

…after two and a half decades of fitful starts and abandoned leads, Braun and a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute showed that they could reprogram heart cells in mice and get the animals to regenerate cardiac tissue after a heart attack. The breakthrough, published in Science, adds new evidence that it will eventually be possible to help patients recover muscle lost in heart attacks and gives another boon to anti-aging researchers who want to one day apply these rejuvenation techniques across much of the body.

Heart cells are some of the hardest to reprogram. If scientists can do this, what else can they accomplish?

David Sinclair at Harvard reversed aging in mouse eyes the year before. The pace of these breakthroughs seems to be increasing.

Any investor in startups always asks the founder “why now?” Why is now the right time to raise this money and build this business?

Altos has a very compelling “why now.”

The foundation for reversing aging has been laid by Yamanaka and others. Scientists worldwide are building on it rapidly, coming up with cure after cure for previously untreatable diseases.

I’m itching to see what Altos can accomplish. Best of luck to their incredible team!

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More on tech:

Reversing the Aging Process in Mouse Eyes… and Maybe Someday, Us?

3D Printing a Human Ear

The Lost Planet of Vulcan

Photo: “Shinya Yamanaka” by Rubenstein is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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