Life Extension Technology & Curing Deadly Diseases – Disruptive Tech Series Part 4


Welcome this is the fourth video from our 5-part series
on the in our opinion most disruptive technologies from the most important industry sectors. Today we want to focus our attention on a
huge new market: Biotechnlogy. Of course so much more is happening here, much
more than only 5 technologies But because top 7 or top 8 would sound really strange we had to choose 5 in our opinion most promising biotechnologies that have severe disruptive potential So stay tuned to find out which are, again in our opinion only, the 5 most important technologies in the sector of bio tech Number 5 Genetic engineering The basic idea here is to edit genes, to replace “bad genes” that could for example cause a disposition for a disease, with “good genes”, which would absolutely eliminate that
disposition. An example would be genes that are inherited
and can be passed on from generation to generation, greatly increasing the risk for certain types
of cancer. By now, probably everyone has heard of CRISPR. It stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”. Together with the CRISPR-associated protein
9, a method called CRISPR-Cas9 was developed. So the idea here is to deliver the Cas protein
complexed with a synthetic guide RNA into a cell, the cell’s genome can be then cut
at a desired location, allowing existing genes to be removed and/or new ones to be added. Now we all know that such methods
can, and let’s be honest at some point or in some countries WILL allow to modify ourselves to enhance ourselves for example to enhance our brain capability to enhance our physique to make us stronger more beautiful faster, kind of like in the movie Gattaca. However, the benefits of using this method to drastically reduce the probability that you get some certain inherited diseases or inherited cancer are really undisputed. Actually the first clinical trials to use CRISPR for targeting different types of cancer in the US have begun in late 2016 and are still ongoing. Now the researchers will remove T cells from 18
patients with several types of cancers and perform CRISPR edits on them. Now the hope is nothing less to prevent or
even cure cancer, and other genetically inherited diseases in the future altogether, which you have to agree would be really awesome. Number 4 Stem Cell therapy
Another promising approach to cure some really brutal diseases is called Stem cell therapy. Here, we don’t edit the genes themselves,
but instead insert Stem cells at locations where they are needed. Simplified speaking, stem cells are cells
that can differentiate into other types of cells, and can also divide to produce more
stem cells. So for example a stem-cell can become a heart-muscle
cell or a nerve cell and so on. The idea is to apply stem-cell treatments
to neurodegenerative diseases and conditions among many others, potentially curing these diseases by replacing infected tissue with self-grown
stem cell based tissue. This would eliminate the need for donor organs, and the body wouldn’t try to reject the stem cell tissue or organ. However, stem cell therapy has of course a negative connotation because as we know besides adults stem cells, there are of course also embryonic stem cells. These are the stem cells of unborn human embryos. It is of course clear that it has strong
ethical implications of using embryonic stem cells and maybe damage or even kill the embryo only to later cure some diseases. However newer research has shown that these embryonic stem cells could be extracted without actually harming the embryo or even better that they are not needed at all, because adult stem cells turns out might be sufficient for most applications now this would be really awesome, because it would basically eliminate this ethical debate and allow us to use stem cell therapy to cure many deadly and dangerous diseases. Number 3 3d printed organs
Now ok this is somewhat linked to the stem cell therapy. so nowadays, if someone has a dysfunctional organ, let’s take the liver as an example, the person has to wait for a donor organ. Well not only are these organs very seldom because I mean yeah they need donors, and there are huge waiting lists but no these donor organs are also targeted and basically rejected by the immune system the immune system basically wants to attack and destroy these donor organs because it thinks that it’s a foreign body that has to be eliminated So the people with donor organs basically have to take medicine their whole life to suppress their immune system response, so that they can actually live with this new organ and this would be absolutely overcome by customized 3d printed stem cell based organs. Yeah, that’s right, organs would be grown using
stem cells from the person that needs a new organ, grown into the needed type of cell,
and then 3d printed layer by layer. Now this sounds like crazy sci-fi stuff, but
it’s really working and we can already see significant progress in that area. Only recently, in April this year, researchers
from Tel Aviv University managed to 3d print a living heart. Now granted, it’s quite small, so there’s
still a ways to go to full scale 3d printed human hearts, but it’s already a promising
development. And a simple precursor to a lung, that
can also “breathe” has been also printed. But until we can fully 3d print human organs,
many challenges still have to be overcome, so realistically at least 10 years will pass,
probably even 20 But it will certainly come at some point. Number 2 Curing cancer, aids, and other deadly
diseases Now we already talked about Stem cell therapy
and genetic engineering as potential ways to overcome or even cure cancer. Now of course there are many other proposed therapies for curing cancer which currently undergo clinical trial but there are so many we cannot cover them all Now besides cancer, the other big enemy of humanity is of course the human immunodeficiency virus or short HIV, actually viruses to be precise they cause HIV infection and then over time acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or short AIDS Now, contrary to back in the 80s, where a diagnose with HIV infection meant a certain death sentence nowadays already quite a few therapies and medications exist, which actually allow people which are HIV positive to lead quite a normal life and have many decades of life expectancy and the medications treatments And therapies are actually improving at quite a dramatic pace. Now the most promising ways to cure an HIV infection are First Flushing the virus out of its reservoirs and
then kill the infected cells. second Gene editing which aims to change immune cells such that they cannot be infected by HIV. third ‘Immune modulation’ which is looking
for ways to permanently change the immune system to better fight HIV.
four Stem cell transplants which aim to completely
eliminate a person’s infected immune system and replace it with a donor immune system. So here, gene editing and stem cells also
play a very important role. probably it will still take a few decades until the HIV infection can be totally cured, but we are sure that it will happen sooner or later. Number 1 Longevity and anti-aging treatments
Now this is one of our favorite topics. As we revealed in our 1000 subscriber special,
Sebastian and me have been doing a caloric restriction diet since over a year now, where we
basically just eat one meal per day in the evening. okay we admit the meal could be a little bit bigger than usual As of today, the only clinically proven way
to prolong lifespan is to reduce caloric intake, However, as you can guess, the effect is
not dramatic. We will not be able to live 200 or more
years just by eating less. Together with a healthy lifestyle, sports
and keeping active, one can hope to live kind of healthy to an age of 100, with a lot of
luck a bit more. But in order to drastically increase lifespan,
we need to invoke the power of biotechnology. Now, there is a lot of research going on in
that area, mostly thanks to amazing pioneers such as Aubrey de Grey, Jim Strole or Elizabeth
Parrish. Aubrey de Grey for example, a co-founder of
the SENS research foundation, sees the human body as a complex biological machine, aging
being nothing else than accumulation of damage over long periods of time. There are of course many different processes in the body going on simultaneously, that lead to aging. A lot of research is going on to target every
single one of these mechanisms. Among the startups that want to develop treatments to prolong human lifespan are for example BioViva. BioViva’s CEO Elizabeth Parrish actually underwent
a two-part experimental gene therapy. now the first gene therapy was actually directly towards myostatin inhibition now Myostatin is a protein present in every human that reduces our capability to build up muscle, and increases our fat that stored in the fat cells so that’s why you constantly have to go to the gym and if you stop going to the gym the muscles go away quite fast which unfortunately I had to find out by myself quite a few times but at the same time myostatin increases the amount of fat we store. so more fat less muscle that comes from Myostatin now it was founded inhibiting so suppressing the amount of myostatin in the human body doesn’t only lead to higher muscle mass, and lower fat, but also increases lifespan. now that you ask why do we even have this myostatin well because it made sense in the stone age and we are stone age people we our hardware hasn’t been upgraded in 20,000 years so in stone age it made sense to store fat and not have a lot of muscles right because you didn’t know when you would get the next meal but nowadays of course we would like to decrease this myostatin now the second gene therapy she received was Telomerase activation. now the human telomerase gene upregulates the activity of the enzyme telomerase, which in turn extends the telomere length. Now Simplified speaking, the telomeres are the end caps of chromosomes, and they get shorter and shorter with each subsequent cell division. Until at some point when the cells have divided already many times the telomeres are completely gone and then the cell cannot divide any more, and dies. then of course at some point when we are very old we have more and more dead cells just lying around in our body so basically a lot of trash lying around and accumulating which is one of the reasons why we age Now only recently one year ago, Liz Parrish published the results of how her Telomeres were developing after she received the gene therapy in 2015 well turns out that her telomeres have not only not shortened anymore but they have actually INCREASED in length again she’s 44 years old but now actually has the telomere length of a 30 year old. There are of course many more mechanisms that contribute to the aging process and have to be overcome, but more and more startups are being founded with the goal in mind to prolong a healthy human lifespan. a start up of Elizabeth Parrish by the way called BioViva wants to make the gene therapy she received a few years ago widely available. And Aubrey de Grey which we find super amazing this guy is really amazing you have to listen to a few talks of him he goes even further he says, that if you manage to live long enough you actually might be able to live forever. now why is that now imagine you live long enough to get the first wave of gene therapy treatments or stem cell therapy treatments that will allow to prolong your lifespan by 20 years now you live 20 years longer you would be able to receive the second generation of treatments which is even better than the first one and prolongs your lifespan even more thus allow you to live even longer to receive the third generation of even better treatments and so on and so forth. until at some point you would basically stop aging altogether So, the first people that might live to an age of 1000 or more years as crazy as it sounds might be even alive today. maybe one of you dear viewers and i really hope so will be among the first persons to reach the age of 1000 and then we can witness a terraformed Mars wouldn’t that be freaking awesome now this certainly sounds like crazy scifi and Aubrey de Grey has also a lot of critics it’s totally understandable but in our opinion we always vastly underestimate the technological capabilities of a new disruptive technology for example when the Wright brothers performed their first flight with a flying machine no one would have thought that only about 60 years later we would land on the moon so saying oh this is impossible no this would never happen this is impossible has been said many times on many different technologies and about many different things and yet every time astounding things happen that far surpass our wildest imaginations so that’s why Jixuan and me are pretty convinced that it will happen at some point just because of the exponential growth of technology and bio technology is a technology nothing more so that’s why of course we encourage every one to live a healthy life style and prolong the lifespan and live as healthy as possible because the first people to actually live to be 1000 or more years old might already be among you so which one of the five bio technologies do you think is the most disruptive one and would you like to remove something from our list or maybe add something to it and what do you think about Aubrey de Grey’s radical ideas and predictions that we could live more than 1000 years we find it very nice right I want to fly to Mars and live there for 100 500 years you heard her just as a reminder currently we are on a huge road trip through the US so unfortunately we won’t be able to upload our usual two news episodes per week that’s why we prerecorded this top 5 series on the most disruptive technologies already weeks ago so this basically is a message from the past you are seeing our past selves not our present selves so see you next time see you