On behalf of SENS Foundation, I'm pleased to announce the launch of a competitive research prize for "Breaking Advanced Glycation Endproduct Glucosepane, a Protein Cross-link" through Innocentive, a global leader in open innovation. This $20,000 Theoretical Research prize is designed to give us a clear enough roadmap towards the breakage of glucosepane that we can attract the further financial and scientific resources needed for a full-scale research and development project.
Comprehensive rejuvenation must include the removal of extracellular protein aggregates from aging tissues. Immunotherapy - in which the immune system is encouraged to recognise and clear a particular protein - is the most clinically-advanced biotechnology for this purpose, but has some limitations. Notably, rapid immune clearance of a large volume of protein can cause severe inflammatory side-effects; also, efficacy depends on the patient's response to vaccination, which declines dramatically in the elderly patients most in need of therapy. A new approach using catalytic antibodies that directly degrade the amyloid proteins may overcome these problems.
Mutations to the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are thought to be a major source of aging-related increases in oxidative stress. The candidate SENS therapy, allotopic expression, involves the production of mitochondrial proteins from the nuclear DNA and their import into the organelle. An alternative mechanism where RNA, rather than protein, is imported is now providing another avenue for research.
I am working on a new experiment with nonspecific peroxidase enzymes and ALE-modified proteins. I am reacting BSA with malondialdehyde (MDA) to modify it with fluorescent crosslinks, which I can measure using ELISA.
The 7KC-degrading bacterium I’ve been studying, Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, has two large gene clusters that are up-regulated by 7KC, but not cholesterol. In these two gene clusters lie a number of enzymes we believe are involved in 7KC degradation, including an enzyme that could reduce the 7-keto group to a hydroxyl. What makes this interesting to us is that while 7KC is highly cytotoxic, 7α-hydroxycholesterol (7αOH) is relatively harmless.