2023 RAADFest Summary Day 2

I skipped the Expo talks, as those are mostly infomercials from the vendors.

Liz Parrish opened up the day by identifying herself as a pioneer for having taken 4 different gene therapies! She must do this in foreign lands because the FDA prohibits that kind of experimentation. Medical tourism will definitely grow in size over the next decade. Kien Vuu gave us inspiration, showing how a change in mindset and perspective can change our choices. Thinking longer-term leads to actions that make your future self better off.

We had two keynote speakers today, George Church and Ray Kurzweil. Both gave rambling talks and it was difficult to find a core thread that tied it all together. Lots of stuff is happening, the pace of change is increasing, and these folks are scattered trying to track and participate in it all.

Mike Chan bamboozled us with a story of growing complexity in the human body, and a recurrent emphasis on using stem cells in clinical treatment. Jason Williams encouraged us to do early screening for cancer, because a noticeable lump is already too big. Jeffrey Gladded reminded us that the road to living longer is not without challenges. The medical system (and each of us) must not fear making changes.

Bernadine and Strole closed out the day with a call for contributions.

Calls to Action:

  • Sign the petition BestChoiceMedicine.com
  • Use Grail’s Galleri test for early stage cancer screening (based on trace amounts of DNA in bloodstream)
  • Pre-order a free book, The Singularity is Nearer link
  • The common supplement form of selenium doesn’t work, you want Methaneseleninic Acid

Liz Parrish
company: BioViva, Genorasis
petition: BestChoiceMedicine.com

  • has taken 4 gene therapies, using CMV and AAV delivery vectors
    • Klotho to combat dementia
    • Follistatin to combat sarcopenia
    • Telomerase to prevent stem cell depletion
    • ?? to prevent glaucoma
  • Need to petition the FDA, otherwise these treatments remain inaccessible

Christian Drapeau, Endogenous Stem Cell Mobilization
Book: Cracking the Stem Cell Code

  • lab experiment where heart muscle was killed off, leaving only the ECM, then infused with stem cells that regenerated the muscle and became a beating heart again
  • stem cells are triggered by damage to invade/perfuse, divide, specialize and replenish tissues
  • mice: trigger stem cell mobilization post heart attack => rapidly recover
  • mice: cure diabetes by mobilizing stem cells into the pancreas, where they specialize into insulin cells
  • conclude: loss of circulating stem cells drives aging disease
  • AFA extract, hippophae rhamnoides, encourages stem cell circulation

I’m skeptical: wouldn’t forcing the circulation of stem cells result in a declining population as they repair any damaged tissue?

Dr Kien Vuu, The Thrive State

  • very inspiring speaker, got strong Toastmaster vibes
  • engaging story about daughter’s birth + near death in the ICU
  • used it as a cliffhanger, didn’t tell us about recovery until end of talk
  • default mode network activity => life of anxiety and stress
  • doctors sacrifice their health for status, are often as sick as the patients
  • encourages a change in perspective:
  • core message: Biography changes Biology, tell yourself a story of thriving, not surviving

George Church, Keynote (remote video)

  • now have technology to radically alter our genome
  • both reading *and writing* have come dramatically down in cost
  • but gene therapies still very expensive
    • most are low volume so cost ~$2.5M, ex: individualized CAR-T or rare point mutation mendelian disease
    • need scale to drive cost down, ex: covid-19 vax, cost ~$2
  • need to generate large libraries of data for ML to consume
  • the difference between a bowhead whale living 200yrs and a mouse living 2 yrs is genetic, not diet + exercise + metformin
  • have two approaches to changing the genome
    • germline: affects all tissues, low off-target risk, could transplant into adult
    • somatic: shorter clinical trial, applies to anyone already born (past the germline opportunity)
  • There are 4 point mutations that would make cells very DNA repair resilient
  • There are 69 edits, made in pigs, that granted resistance to immune system rejection in xenotransplant experiment
  • We can also produce cellular viral immunity through codon swapping:
    • recode TCA, TCG (Serine) -> null -> Leucine
    • now all infecting viruses can’t build their proteins
  • Rejuvenate Bio shows that gene therapy can extend mouse lifespan
  • Transposon Therapeutics working on LINE SINE rDNA and CEN repeats to attack senescence
  • sometime we re-use viral functionality, ex: human placental lining incorporates a viral envelope protein, Syncytin

Ray Kurzweil, Keynote (remote video)
Book: The Singularity is Near
Free Book offer: The Singularity is Nearer link

  • We have exponential progress everywhere
    • LLMs a major advance, and super-quick, like ~1yr research -> product
    • contrary to the name, the tech is not limited to language, it’s actually an event model
    • readily applies to the question: given set of conditions + health metrics, what medicine should be used?
  • on track for human-level AGI in 2029
  • prediction in Book: Age of Spiritual Machines
  • showed chart of “flops computation per dollar” (economic analog of Moore’s Law)
  • lphafold 2 and drug screen already under way Isomorphic Labs
  • should reach Longevity Escape Velocity in 2029
    • current gaining 3-4 months each year
    • escape threshold at 1 year gained per year lived

I had an idea as the audience was asking questions. Decentralized Clouds don’t have great user experience: search queries are slow, replication for hosting redundancy is costly both time and materials. The situation is obviously fixed by incentives: people contribute when they can receive rent. So if computation, storage, and latency are the key resources, existing edge networks have a first adopter advantage in the transition to a decentralized world.

Dr Mike Chan

  • has plenty of rich politician clients
  • rambling inspiration, designed to confuse audience into submission + agreement
  • clinic offers several therapies, and we need them all
    • organ replacement + reversal: Thymus, stem cells, etc
    • unipotent stem cell therapy: pre-specialized for the target tissue
    • peptides and exosomes: pro-youth and anti-aging signalling molecules
    • must repair our selves at the cellular level
    • we have 729 lineages (the number keeps increasing as researchers find more things to distinguish) and each needs a specific protein environment

Jason Williams, Early Detection and Prevention of Cancer

  • selenium improves cancer patients during + after treatment (in research articles)
    • But the common supplement form doesn’t work, you want Methaneseleninic Acid
  • Vitamin D also has strong positive effect
  • Healthy (diverse) gut microbiome
  • avoid stevia and sucralose, which kill off the microbiome
  • probiotics aren’t diverse, it’s like a mono-crop
  • Use Grail’s Galleri test for early stage cancer screening (based on trace amounts of DNA in bloodstream)
    • incidence of cancer among 40-50yr olds is increasing substantially
    • by the time you have a detectable lump (in whole body MRI) it’s ~1M cells
  • if we don’t cure cancer, we won’t reach longevity
    • need a localized, targeted treatment, not chemo

Jeffrey Gladden

  • reminded us of The Hero’s Journey
  • Aging: Fatigue, Pains, so many problems with Dr unable to really help
  • our body is a mosaic of many ages and metrics (each tissue has a clock, they can read substantially different)
  • we must follow the protein curves as the change with age (it’s a story)
  • Longevity is a medicine with a different focus
    • medicine 1.0: treat acute trauma and sickness => a sick-care system
    • medicine 2.0: functional + integrated => can manage chronic issues, with whole-body perspective
    • third step will be longevity => about prevention not mitigation

I’d previously heard the medicine 3.0 idea from Peter Attia. And plenty of people know our system is great at acute treatment (e.g. car accident) and terrible at chronic condition treatment. Doctors don’t have time to root cause and often patients don’t either and they have a high non-compliant rate, forgetting to even take their pills on time.

Bernadine + Strole

  • The coalition has (2016-2022)
    • avg yearly total income of $543,969
    • avg yearly expenses of $574,532
    • => deficit of $30,562
    • Bill Faloon covered 2020+2021 deficit of $83,232
  • talked up a drive with audience pledging money