It is now two years since I completed the first edition of my book, Ending Aging, in which I set out the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence which underpin SENS Foundation’s work. SENS concentrates on therapies which clean up the damaging side-effects of human metabolism, allowing us to sidestep science’s still-considerable ignorance of the underlying workings of that metabolism itself. Building on the research successes of the Methuselah Foundation, it is my pleasure to address you now as Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, to reflect on where we stand today, and what the future holds.
I want to give you a feel for what we are achieving by summarising just two of the many recent elements of SENS-related scientific progress. One shining example is the discovery of enzymes that can destroy A2E, a by-product of the chemistry of sight, which is thought to be the primary cause of age-related macular degeneration (in turn, a major cause of blindness in the elderly). Kent Kemmish, a scientist working for the Methuselah Foundation's research group in Phoenix, leveraged knowledge built up in disparate fields over many years to have an inspired insight as to what type of enzyme might perform this task, and he was rapidly able to confirm this in the laboratory. (Reference - added by crabsallover)
The other example, this time relating to mitochondrial mutations (the strand of SENS that was my own first interest), is the breakthrough by Marisol Corral-Debrinski's Methuselah-funded group in Paris in cracking the problem of hydrophobicity of the proteins encoded by mitochondrial DNA. This obstacle, which had for over a decade completely stalled progress in the 20-year-old idea of making mitochondrial DNA redundant by duplicating it in the nucleus, is now largely solved, and there is great hope that this strand of SENS can be brought to complete fruition within only a few more years.
I have no doubt that SENS Foundation is the right organization to take the next evolutionary steps in the engineering of comprehensive regenerative therapies. As Chief Science Officer, I am excited by the challenges ahead, and confident in our ability to construct the teams and resources necessary to meet those challenges. It promises to be a remarkable journey, and I look forward to your continued interest, support and collaboration as we increase our pace and set our sights ever closer to the horizon.
Dr Aubrey de Grey