The Biggest Breakthrough in Longevity May Start With Menopause

Longevity science is going mainstream. Below is a new article from Bloomberg Businessweek’s Longevity Issue that just came out:

“This is the area where there has been no funding and no interest until recently,” says Yousin Suh, a researcher studying ovarian aging at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. Long-standing gender bias in medicine has left the female reproductive system woefully understudied.

Scientists and startups are racing to turn these revelations into therapies that could one day advance treatment for menopause and infertility and perhaps eventually intervene in the process of aging itself. Williams and Suh have already begun enrolling women in a clinical trial to test whether rapamycin—an immunosuppresant typically used in organ transplants and cancer treatment that’s also become a popular anti-aging drug—might also slow aging of the ovaries. Researchers at Northwestern University are exploring whether anti-fibrotic drugs could improve the quality of a woman’s eggs as she ages as well as improve reproductive longevity itself. A startup called Gameto has used stem cell science to create a less intensive version of IVF and plans to use the same technology to create better menopause therapies.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Pepin, along with Donahoe and Harvard University Ph.D. Daisy Robinton, founded Oviva Therapeutics Inc. with funding from aging-focused drug development company Cambrian BioPharma Inc. Their goal: to turn AMH into treatments that could improve ovarian function and extend life span. In the universe of aging research, Pepin says, the ovary just might be low-hanging fruit. It’s a far smaller task to intervene in the aging of one organ versus the entire body. “If you’re trying to extend longevity, that’s hard,” Pepin says. “But the ovary is really weird. It starts to degenerate way earlier than anything else. So even if you didn’t touch anything else, you could easily see an effect on the ovary.”

The global fertility market, worth about $35.2 billion last year, is expected to grow to $84 billion by 2028, according to market research firm Imarc Group. Oviva raised $11.5 million in May 2022 for an early-stage treatment that will aim to improve fertility treatments by helping patients increase the number of eggs in each cycle. Eventually, Oviva hopes to pull off a feat that seems almost unimaginable: giving women a drug that will allow them to choose when—and whether—they go through menopause. At a time when politicians are eroding women’s hard-won reproductive choices, Oviva’s founders want to give them even more control. “I see it very much akin to how the contraceptive pill really changed the game for women in the ’70s,” Robinton says.

At Columbia, Suh and Williams are enrolling about 50 women for a pilot study to see how the decades-old organ transplant drug rapamycin affects ovarian aging. Rapamycin acts on the body’s mTOR pathway, a buzzword in longevity circles: Activation of the mTOR pathway seems to be associated with aging, suggesting that intervening in it could slow the process. But it also seems to play a role in the activation of primordial follicles, which raises the question of whether targeting the mTOR pathway could reduce the rate at which those follicles mature. Kara Goldman, Northwestern’s medical director of fertility preservation and an associate professor, has explored how mTOR-inhibiting drugs could protect mice from the rapid depletion of eggs caused by cancer treatments. Now Suh and Williams are applying that work to humans. “We are really confident that rapamycin can help women to delay aging in the ovary, thereby improving aging in the body,” Suh says.

Full article:

Related Reading:

Here: Women Taking Rapamycin for Enhanced Fertility / Menopause Prevention?

Here: Highlights from the 2023 Longevity Summit

Here: Bloomberg BusinessWeek: The Longevity Issue


Other stories in this Longevity Issue:

We Are So Not Ready for a Society Where Living to 100 Is Common

A few takeaways from working at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

One Man’s Longevity Obsession Now Includes Fountain-of-Youth Injections

A startup called Minicircle wants to reprogram human genes—and is enlisting biohacker Bryan Johnson as a human guinea pig in its unproven approach.

Longevity Startup Retro Biosciences Is Sam Altman’s Shot at Life Extension

Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever Has Many Warring Factions

Anti-Aging Cosmetics

Dermatologists say consumers should be wary of scientific-sounding skin-care routines on TikTok and Instagram. So what should you do instead?


More from this issue:

What Dermatologists Really Think About Those Anti-Aging Products

Cosmetics companies are trying to wow consumers with clinical-sounding ingredients. Actual scientists aren’t impressed.

Beauty companies big and small are increasingly using science—or at least words and phrases that sound like they’re pulled from a peer-reviewed journal—to market their products. The dollar value of products sold in the US that say they include clinical ingredients, such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid (both can help hydrate skin), has been growing at an average annual rate of 71.5% during the past five years versus 5.3% for overall skin-care items, says Jacqueline Flam Stokes, senior vice president for beauty, drug and over-the-counter retail at NielsenIQ, a data firm. The surge in demand for ingredient-led products has surpassed consumer interest in beauty items marketed as “natural” or “organic,” which were particularly popular before the pandemic, she says.

Take ceramides, lipid molecules that can help preserve moisture and protect against skin irritation. “Ceramides have been a very popular ingredient in cosmetics and skin-care products for decades,” Flam Stokes says. “What we’ve seen over the last three years, really, is that ceramides are now a popular ingredient that’s being called out on the front of packing labels.”

Welcome to the scientification of skin care. The trend gathered momentum during the pandemic, when Americans were spending countless hours eyeing themselves on video chats. That prodded many to try to address their perceived skin imperfections. With guidance from skin-care influencers on TikTok and elsewhere, shoppers snapped up clinical-sounding beauty products to expand their facial routines to half a dozen steps or more.

Full article:

An article mostly about the ITP program / Richard Miller (and Yuvan / E5 later in the story)

What the Oldest Lab Rodents Are Teaching Humans About Staying Young

Some of the longest-living rats and mice—including the very adorable dwarf mouse—could help unlock the mysteries of aging.

Over the years, the ITP has surfaced several promising life-span-increasing interventions. The most successful, mousewise, is a combination of the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin and the glucose regulator acarbose, which allowed mice in the ITP to live an average of 29% longer. Other stakeholders are now investigating these and other successful drugs further, in mice, different study animals or occasionally themselves, Miller says.

Full story: