Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner fund anti-aging start-up

Billionaires Jeff Bezos an Yuri Milner are reportedly funding a startup biotechnology firm with the aim of discovering a way to reverse aging.  Altos Labs was incorporated in the US and the UK earlier this year, and has raised at least $270million to look into the potential of cell reprogramming technology to turn back the clock in animals, and potentially, humans.

While little is known so far about Altos, early hires give an indication of the kinds of anti-aging techniques the lab might be looking into. They include Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who pioneered researched into cell reprogramming, earning him the 2012 Nobel Prize for the research. He discovered that by adding just four specific proteins to cells, they can be instructed to revert back into an earlier state with the properties of embryonic stem cells that make up building blocks of new animal life.

He will serve as an unpaid advisor on Altosscientific advisory board, according to MIT Technology Review, which reported on Altos’ formation.

Source:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/

How To Replace Artificial Chemicals With Natural Silk Protein In Skin Care

Most consumers are unaware of the potentially harmful chemicals that can be found in skin care products and on clothingArtificial ingredients such at parabens, which are used to prolong the shelf-life of a skin care product, have been linked to hormone and fertility damage. Formaldehyde, also used as a preservative in skin care products, is a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also an additive used on some clothing to prevent wrinkles and stains.
Now a small company outside of Boston aims to lead to effort to replace artificial chemicals with natural silk protein in both skin care products and textiles.
Evolved By Nature, based in Medford, Massachusetts, is applying modern biotechnology to centuries-old silk to create activated silk.

Activated silk is really us taking silk all the way back to the natural state that silk is found in in the silkworm,” described Evolved By Nature Co-founder and President Beck Lacouture.
“We are taking silk protein and unlocking its potential, using the different regions of the silk to our benefit,” she said.
The process of activating the silk requires nothing more than salt, water and heat, no added chemicals.
We remove all contaminants, so we’re left with just the protein and fiber form,” said Evolved By Nature Co-founder and CEO Greg Altman.syrupy mi
Inside the laboratory, the cocoons spun from silkworms are washed to remove its natural sticky outer coating, dried, and dissolved in salt water. The brown, syrupy mix is then purified by the removal of salt. And what’s left is pure, liquid, silk protein or activated silk. It can be used in a variety of skin care and clothing products.

Source: https://www.itnnews.lk/

Breakthrough In The Fight Against Alzheimer’s

In a shocking reversal, Biogen (BIIB) said that it would resurrect an Alzheimer’s drug that the company previously said had failed and will ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve it. The company said a “new analysis of a larger dataset” showed that the drug, aducanumab, reduced clinical decline in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease on multiple measures of the drug’s effectiveness. That directly contradicts a decision in March to halt studies of the therapy based on the recommendations of an independent monitoring board that was charged with protecting patients in the study. Aducanumab’s failure sent shock waves far beyond Biogen. It was thought to be the last of a series of drugs—the previous ones, from many different drug companies, all failed—that targeted a protein in the brain called beta amyloid. After Biogen’s announcement in March, most researchers and biotechnology executives saw little hope for a drug that would help patients with Alzheimer’s disease even as cases mount.

Biogen said that it conducted a new analysis in consultation with the FDA of a larger data set from the discontinued studies. The new analysis includes additional data that became available after the previous analysis showed the studies were “futile”—that it had no chance of succeeding. Biogen said that the new data show aducanumab is “pharmacologically and clinically active” and that it reduced patients’ clinical decline based on the results of a survey called Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB), which was the main goal of both studies.

With such a devastating disease that affects tens of millions worldwide, today’s announcement is truly heartening in the fight against Alzheimer’s. This is the result of groundbreaking research and is a testament to Biogen’s steadfast determination to follow the science and do the right thing for patients,” Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We are hopeful about the prospect of offering patients the first therapy to reduce the clinical decline of Alzheimer’s disease and the potential implication of these results for similar approaches targeting amyloid beta.”

Al Sandrock, Biogen’s head of research and development and chief medical officer, said in his first interview about the new results that his team could only find one previous instance where a trial was stopped for futility and then it turned out to be positive. “I have to pinch myself because I almost don’t believe it yet,” Sandrock said. “It’s so amazing to have this change from March. But I’m also very, very happy because… I know people with mild cognitive impairment and I felt like I had let them all down.

By June, as Biogen analyzed the full data set, researchers started to realize that a different picture was emerging of aducanumab, Sandrock said. The reason was because of changes that Biogen had made to the study late in the game. Initially, the company worried about a potential side effectbrain swelling—and limited the dosage of the drug. But later patients were allowed to receive higher doses of the medicine.

Source: https://www.biogen.com/
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Replacement Meats Within 20 Years

Meat is big business. According to analysis by A.T. Kearney, the global meat market was worth $1,000 billion in 2018, and this is set to grow. The World Economic Forum’s Alternative Proteins report says demand for meat will double before 2050 as our global population increases, becomes wealthier on average, and adopts food choices that are currently restricted to high-income countries.

At the same time, concerns about how to feed this expanded populace, along with the impact meat has on factors including our health, the environment and animal welfare have been steadily rising. Vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism are regularly in the news, with more and more people becoming advocates of plant-based eating. A study conducted by the UK research company YouGov found that one in five believes the future is meat-free.

Correspondingly, in recent years we have witnessed a sharp upsurge in the attempt to find viable alternatives. Classic vegan and vegetarian meat replacements have been a standard feature on our supermarket shelves for several years of course, while insect-based meat replacements, while available, occupy a relatively niche position.

More recently, the search has found its way into our laboratories, and start-ups like Impossible Foods, Just and Beyond Meat have brought novel vegan meat replacement, a plant-based product category that imitates the sensory profile of meat, to the table. Looking further ahead, other companies are now using advances in biotechnology to prototype and test cultured meat, which is created using cells extracted from living animals, slaughter-free.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/