Core Principles of Aging as a Disease
Regenerative medicine for aging is a multidisciplinary one and includes tissue engineering, stem cell therapeutics, gene therapy, pharmacology, regenerative medicine, and many others.
Ultimately the goal of our field is the prevention, delay, or even reversal of age-related diseases. It aims to achieve this by making us biologically younger by directly targeting the aging processes as well as slowing down the rate at which we age.
There are nine proposed reasons we age:
- Genomic instability – DNA damage that mutates cells potentially leading to cancer.
- Telomere attrition – The caps on our chromosomes wear down leading to loss of tissue regeneration.
- Epigenetic alterations – Changes to gene expression that harms healthy cellular function.
- Loss of proteostasis – Loss of efficient protein production leading to accumulated cellular waste.
- Deregulated nutrient sensing – Failure of metabolism leading to decline of energy production, cell growth, and other crucial cell functions.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction – Free radicals damage our mitochondria leading to loss of energy production.
- Cellular senescence – An accumulation of worn out damaged cells which lead to chronic inflammation and loss of tissue regeneration.
- Stem cell exhaustion – A decline in the ability of our stem cells to replenish damaged tissues by sending replacement cells.
- Altered intercellular communication – Changes to cell-to-cell communication which leads to chronic inflammation and dysfunctional cell behavior.
These aging processes cause damage to our bodies which ultimately leads to the onset of age-related diseases. Smarter Longevity seeks to prevent age-related diseases by recommending options for repairing the damage caused by these processes and by slowing down the rate at which this damage occurs.
Of course if we can find solutions to these nine processes (spoiler alert: science has!), a happy side effect of this would likely be more healthy years of life, not a bad thing in our opinion!