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Life Extension Magazine

Conference Report - Revolution Against Aging and Death

RAADFest 2016

By Dylan Blaiwes

Scientists are pushing through human studies with the objective of biologically transforming older people into measurably younger individuals. Solid evidence indicates that many aspects of pathologic aging can be eradicated using these newly developed techniques.

The integrity of these findings prompted theLife Extension Foundation® to cosponsor the Revolution against Aging and Death conference, held in San Diego on August 4-7, 2016.

If it weren’t for the many physicians/scientists engaged in human age-reversal initiatives, Life Extension® would not have committed to this conference. In other words, if all attendees were going to learn was how to better prevent disease and slow aging, this conference would not have met the biomedical objectives that Life Extension is intent on advancing.

What distinguished RAADfest was the focus on human age reversal, group collaboration, and community building that can accelerate innovation so that we all benefit.

RAADfest was a high-energy interactive event featuring pioneering scientists and thought leaders seeking to induce meaningful reversal of degenerative aging processes in humans. It was the first event of its kind ever, and unveiled an abundance of rejuvenation techniques.

Rather than merely slowing aging, RAADfest presenters described systemic age reversal induced in laboratory mammals and in preliminary human studies.

Unlike typical scientific conferences where you often get lost in the crowd and can feel buried in technical jargon, this unique event was designed for a lay audience and brought like-minded individuals together at prepaid lunches and dinners, where they could meet others, including the presenters, and continue the conversation on a personal level.

RAADfest may go down in medical history as the first large scale event where multiple methods to reverse human aging were presented by credentialed individuals.

This article succinctly describes highlights of the 3-day RAADfest, how you can obtain a RAADfest video, and why you should make every attempt to attend RAADfest 2017 in San Diego on August 9-13, 2017.

The expectation for turnout at the first RAADfest conference was low. One expert said if the event attracted 500 attendees it would be an enormous success, but would result in a financial loss. Life Extension Foundation committed up to $200,000 to cover anticipated losses.

The professional “experts” got it wrong. At RAADfest 2016, a wildly enthusiastic group of 967 people packed the main hall. This enabled RAADfest to end with a small surplus that will pay upfront costs for RAADfest 2017.

RAADfest was presented by the nonprofit Coalition for Radical Life Extension, with the support of Life Extension Foundation, People Unlimited Inc. and other groups pursuing healthy longevity such as Dave Kekich’s Maximum Life Foundation and Aubrey de Grey’s SENS Research Foundation.

Speakers at RAADfest focused on an array of topics, including visions for the future, current research, as well as how society will adapt and transform to a shifting paradigm of radically extended lifespans. The event opened with a discussion surrounding the goals and purpose of the conference, focusing on how close we may be to living significantly longer and healthier lives. The main theme of the RAADfest was teamwork within the radical life extension community for realizing the goal of ending aging in our lifetime.

For the first time, findings from proof-of-concept studies revealed significant reversal of a number of aging biomarkers in human study subjects, with the potential to do more very soon. The audience was able to submit questions for the speakers, which provided an engaging and interactive experience throughout the event.

And, last, but not least, RAADfest was fun. Live entertainment, a planned party, and impromptu evening get-togethers on the resort property made this unique gathering a truly inspiring and heartwarming experience for all those interested in radical life extension.

The Opening Speakers

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David Kekich, a thought leader in the life extension community, delivered a proclamation against aging and death that would set the tone for the entire event.

James Strole, Director of the Coalition for Radical Life Extension, and cofounder of People Unlimited Inc., presented a compelling argument for the value of all life, and the importance of preserving it indefinitely. Strole suggested that RAADfest is the “Woodstock for Radical Life Extension,” where everyone is “creating a huge bonfire of life to consume aging, sickness, and death.”

Dr. Jose Luis Cordeiro delivered a colorful and passionate exclamation, “Viva la Revolución,” which captured the essence of RAADfest, and would be repeated throughout the following days. That “revolution” was a declaration against today’s absurdly short lifespans.

Famous and Notable Presenters

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Presenting at this conference were well-known celebrities like Ray Kurzweil, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, and Suzanne Somers. What distinguished RAADfest from any other event were the speakers who are actively involved in human age-reversal projects. These included:

  • Greg Fahy, PhD, who just completed a successful proof-of-concept study, whereby thymic regeneration and ensuing restoration of youthful immune function appears to have been induced in nine older people. This trial was based at Stanford University.
  • Bill Andrews, PhD, who spoke on extending telomeres to reverse the clock of aging and declining health.
  • Liz Parrish, CEO of BioViva and a pioneer in gene therapy.
  • Dipnarine Maharaj, MD, a pioneer in projects to reverse pathologic aging along with restoration of functional immune status using stem cell mobilized plasma components from young donors at South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Institute.
  • Dobri Kiprov, MD, who spoke about a project to inhibit senescent cell behavior in elderly subjects via removal of aged plasma, along with infusion of young plasma components using prophylactic plasma exchange to suppress inflammation and induce age reversal at Young Plasma Institute.
  • Peter Nygard described somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to reverse human cellular aging in vivo.
  • Steve Perry, who is successfully self-experimenting with a group using Growth Differentiation Factor 11 (GDF11) that has demonstrated rodent age reversal at Harvard and other universities. Steve Perry reported similar results occurring in a cohort of engineers who are self-administering GDF11 and carefully monitoring the results.
  • Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, discussed accelerating deep-learning artificial intelligence to rapidly perfect therapies aimed at circumventing pathologic mechanisms of aging.
  • Bill Faloon tied all research projects together so that elderly humans can gain quick access to these age reversal therapies.

What follows are brief descriptions from just a few of the many highlighted speakers.

Researcher Dr. Bill Andrews reported his progress on delivering telomerase to human cells. Importantly, Andrews dispelled the notion that telomerase activation has carcinogenic or cancer-causing properties, suggesting that hundreds of studies demonstrate the opposite effect—a lack of telomerase leads to cancer formation.

Liz Parrish announced publicly her status as gene therapy “patient zero.” She also presented research on how gene therapies have shown success in treating lipoprotein lipase deficiency, as well as severe combined immune-deficiency treatment. Along with Dr. Andrews, Liz Parrish has started planning a center in Fiji called “BioViva FIJI,” where they intend to deliver gene therapy treatments to patients before their diseases begin to manifest.

Dr. Jose Luis Cordeiro delivered an introduction to the concept of the “law of accelerating returns,” in which technological progress is exponential and grows rapidly. As technology and medical science grow, they are expected to converge at a point of “singularity,” where humans and synthetic computer systems can coexist as one. Cordeiro introduced the concept of an exocortex, a new extension of the human neocortex, which we may be able to interface with via nanorobotics (nanobots) that will allow for transduction of neural impulses into external or remote computers to greatly expand the capacity of human thinking. Nanorobotics technology has immense promise and numerous implications that extend beyond the scope of what we as humans can currently foresee or understand.

Dr. Nuno Martins is a pioneer in the field of nanobots, and has proposed a real-world implementation called neuronanorobotics (NNR), which equips nanobots with microelectrode arrays that can extract signals from the brain to externally control robotics. A 2012 publication from Martins’s team provides an example of this, and proposes a specific data processing rate of the human brain to be 5.52x1016 bits per second.1 This is the rate at which neuronanorobotics will need to perform to be able to accurately process neural signals in the brain in real-time. Martins expects this technology to enable a new paradigm in patient brain monitoring, by delivering brain function information directly to doctors after treatment via neuronanorobotics. By interpreting brain impulses externally, different artificial intelligence programs may be able to identify complex relationships and identify disease earlier than conventional diagnostic means.

To further elaborate on the power of artificial intelligence, Dr. Ben Goertzel, a renowned robotics researcher, presented examples of how the OpenCOG system has provided robots with an “artificial general intelligence” (AGI), allowing them to extrapolate and infer information from basic conversations with real human beings. Using this system, OpenCOG has helped identify and predict associations between genetic variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and longevity, allowing Goertzel’s team to identify natural compounds that may target brain aging. Such computational power and the ability to target disease before it manifests is expected to grow exponentially as artificial intelligence and improvements to computer manufacturing develop further.

A discussion on artificial intelligence and the convergence of human brains and computers would not be complete without insight from one of the field’s most revered individuals:

Bill Faloon of Life Extension Foundation introduced Ray Kurzweil, who made his appearance not in person but via a BeamPro Smart Presence robot. The BeamPro is a telepresence device with a screen featuring a live video stream of the remote presenter, and is controlled remotely by the presenter, allowing the robot to move around the stage and interact with other speakers. Kurzweil proposed a novel robotic T cell, a “nano T cell,” which can be programmed to target pathogens more effectively than endogenous human T cells, as well as clean up vascular debris and damage. This, as he indicated, is only one small example of the technological potential we can attain, once the singularity is reached.

By establishing a synthetic connection between our neocortex and external artificial intelligence systems, we will be able to continue expanding our nonbiological brain exponentially, and eventually backup our biological thinking into our nonbiological brain permanently. Ray Kurzweil predicts the singularity to occur no later than 2045, or possibly as early as 2029.

All of these forward-thinking technologies and expansion into nanorobotics require significant public interest and generous funding into antiaging research.

Dr. Ron Klatz of A4M provided many important statistics on how antiaging research will be an inevitable outcome, due to the overwhelming insufficiency and insolvency of the Social Security system in the United States. The US has the highest number of centenarians living on earth, which increased 44% in the last 15 years,2 and now big pharmaceutical companies are finally spending time and money researching antiaging drugs. Klatz stated that over 700 drugs and biomedical technologies are now under development with antiaging implications.

Despite many current developments in antiaging therapies, many may not see public or mainstream acceptance without strong social awareness and increased funding into more research.

Bill Faloon delivered striking statistics regarding how delays in acceptance of innovative treatments have cost innumerable lives over centuries. He emphasized the urgency to unify researchers, investors, and the general public toward a common goal of accelerating human age-reversal studies. He powerfully demonstrated the need to fund age-reversal research and to overcome dogmatic inertia, the enemy of scientific progress. Life Extension Foundation is aggressively seeking to raise funds from those who want to personally benefit from the many emerging age reversal technologies presented at RAADfest.

Age-related diseases are strongly associated with declines in overall immune function (immunosenescence). To this extent, the RAADfest took an in-depth look at current age-reversal research, examining various immune system treatments ranging from stem cell mobilization to thymus regeneration.

Brief Elaboration on Age-Reversal Therapies Almost Ready to Launch

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Thymic involution refers to the age-related shift of thymic tissue into fat, and the decreasing function of the thymus in supporting T cell maturation.3 In the absence of proper T cell maturation, we cannot properly respond to pathogens or cancer cells.

Dr. Greg Fahy is a renowned researcher who is examining the effects of thymic involution on age-related immune senescence.

Dr. Fahy presented compelling information on how restoration of thymic structure and function using existing therapies in a creative manner can help restore immune function and reverse other indices of aging. He also suggested that restoration of the thymus could eventually help to cure autoimmune diseases and could help to prevent transplant rejection by virtue of a healthy thymus gland by “filtering out” pro-inflammatory autoimmune cells.

Dr. Fahy’s project is called “The Thymus Regeneration, Immunorestoration, and Insulin Mitigation (TRIIM).” This clinical trial aims to investigate the effects of thymic regeneration treatment in people over age 50. This trial will expand to a new and larger phase of human testing in 2017 if funding is secured.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj has completed a protocol to submit to the FDA to acquire Investigational New Drug approval to study the effects of infusing stem-cell mobilized plasma from healthy 21-year old young persons into elderly people. The objective is to restore immune competence while reversing systemic aging. This study is ready to launch as soon as funding becomes available.

Steve Perry did not wait for funding and instead chose to become patient zero from the standpoint of self-experimenting with GDF11, along with a group of engineers who share Steve’s passion for a longer life free of degenerative ailments. GDF11 is one of many proteins present in young mammals responsible for a host of beneficial pro-youth effects.

To give you an idea of what meaningful age reversal is about, we have copied a few Power Point slides about GDF11, thymic regeneration and stem-cell mobilized young-plasma transfer in the article beginning on page 10 of this issue. We inserted brief captions under these slides to help explain the unprecedented findings these data represent.

Wrapping Up

The RAADfest concluded with an interactive forum, where many of the notable speakers from the entire event came together on stage to answer the audience’s abundant and thoughtful questions. All of the speakers conveyed a positive tone about the collaboration, involvement, and uniquely fun nature of the event, and look forward to further research developments to be presented at next year’s RAADfest.

Conclusion

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An abundance of interdisciplinary information and research converged at the first annual RAADfest, which was nothing short of a smash hit.

Attendees left RAADfest clamoring for more, and many preregistered for the RAADfest 2017 before the event had ended.

Nearly every speaker stressed the importance of spreading the word about age-reversal research and the RAADfest. The event is likely to grow in size and scope as the science behind ending the disease of biological aging rapidly advances.

For those unable to attend RAADfest, full video coverage of the event is available for purchase at: www.raadfest.com

Due to popular demand, RAADfest 2017 will be expanded another day for a total of five days, allowing more time for learning and enjoying, from August 9-13 in San Diego, Calif.

To register to attend RAADfest 2017 at a special early pricing of $542 (if registered by February 28th 2017), which includes five organic meals. The reason these healthy meals are included is to keep the entire group together throughout, so maximum group interaction and collaboration can transpire.

To register for RAADfest 2017, log on to www.raadfest.com and use promotional code “LEF” to receive this discounted price.

References

  1. Available at: http://jetpress.org/v26.1/martins.htm. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/25/health/centenarians-increase/index.html. Accessed December 8, 2016.
  3. Rezzani R, Nardo L, Favero G, et al. Thymus and aging: morphological, radiological, and functional overview. Age (Dordr). 2014;36(1):313-51.
  4. Okuno T, Kosova L. Plasmapheresis for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Transfusion. 1979;19(3):342-4.
  5. Molinari E, Costamagna L, Perotti C, et al. Refractory thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: successful treatment by plasmapheresis with plasma cryosupernatant. Haematologica. 1993;78(6):389-92.
  6. McLeod BC, Wu KK, Knospe WH. Plasmapheresis in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(8):1059-60.
Notable Presentations at RAADFest 2016

RAADfest was brimming with presentations from dozens of longevity advocates and anti-aging researchers. Listed below are many of the notable speakers with brief summaries of their presentations:

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, presented an impressive look at how bioinformatics and artificial intelligence are transforming the biomedical industry, ranging from drug and nutraceutical discovery to genomic profiling and its impact in individualized gene-therapy and age-reversal treatments.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey, of the SENS foundation wrapped up the first night of RAADfest by summarizing the types of damage caused by aging, such as cell loss, uncontrolled cellular division and apoptosis-resistant cells, mitochondrial mutations, intracellular/extracellular junk, and extracellular matrix stiffening (glycation), and stressing the importance of society recognizing aging as a disease. Dr. de Grey describes longevity as a “side effect” of good health, and wants to focus on researching maintenance of health, rather than treatment of disease.

Suzanne Somers discussed the importance and power of bioidentical hormones in restoring women’s sense of purpose and quality of life. She candidly disclosed her experience with hormone replacement therapy, and passionately conveyed the importance of hormonal therapy for all menopausal women. Suzanne Somers has written several best-selling books regarding female hormone replacement therapy. She is the national spokesperson for Forever Health, a network that connects prospective patients with bioidentical hormone-replacement doctors around the country.

Dr. Brant Cortright provided lifestyle guidance on ways to increase the rate of neurogenesis that tends to decline through the lifespan. He provided guidance on diet, physical activity, and the importance of spiritual factors, all of which may help reverse declines in neurogenesis and reverse markers of dementia. Until very recently, conventional thought dictated that neurons could not be regrown once damaged or destroyed. Evidence is increasingly mounting demonstrating that this paradigm is incorrect, and that neurogenesis is not only possible, but likely occurs throughout the lifespan.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj presented his research on immunosenescence and the rejuvenating effects of parabiosis, the process of giving young blood to older individuals, effectively restoring immune function. Dr. Maharaj is the director of the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute, where he is conducting a clinical trial to study the effects of white blood cells derived from healthy young individuals as a treatment for solid tumors.

Dr. Dobri Kiprov is researching ways of exchanging plasma from an aging individual with plasma with youthful characteristics (Plasmapheresis). Plasmapheresis has been successfully used to treat thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP),4-6 and is now being evaluated for its role in age reversal.

Dr. Terry Grossman, coauthor of Fantastic Voyage with Ray Kurzweil, and founder of the Grossman Wellness Center, described a novel biomarker and test for detecting cancer. ENOX-2 is a protein present only on the surface of malignant cells that eventually enters the circulation where it can be detected through a blood test. By testing for ENOX-2, Dr. Grossman and his team have been able to detect cancer much earlier than by conventional methods. For example, Grossman stated that 0.8 mm-sized breast cancers can be found with a 98% detection rate, resulting in a 100% 5-year survival rate for those treated, a significant improvement over conventional mammograms. ENOX-2 is available as a test called the ONCOblot, and allows for detection of specific location and tissue of origin for highly specific cancer detection.

Dr. Mark Gordon described the often overlooked yet well-documented link between depression and low hormone levels. In his own journey to seek treatment for his age-related depression, he was prescribed antidepressants for years, but did not see improvement. Finally, after starting a hormone replacement regimen including growth hormone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones, he saw improvement after only a few months.