Dr Mercola Interviews Dr Villeponteau the Formulator of Stem Cell 100

Dr Bryant Villeponteau the formulator of Stem Cell 100 and other Life Code nutraceuticals was recently interviewed by Dr Mercola who owns the largest health web site on the internet. Dr. Villeponteau is also the author of Decoding Longevity a new book which will be released during December. He is a leading researcher in novel anti-aging therapies involving stem cells an area in which he has been a pioneer for over three decades.

Stem cell technology could have a dramatic influence on our ability to live longer and replace some of our failing parts, which is the inevitable result of the aging process. With an interest in aging and longevity, Dr. Villeponteau started out by studying developmental biology. If we could understand development, we could understand aging, he says. Later, his interest turned more toward the gene regulation aspects. While working as a professor at the University of Michigan at the Institute of Gerontology, he received, and accepted, a job offer from Geron Corporation a Bay Area startup, in the early 90s.

They were working on telomerase, which I was pretty excited about at the time. I joined them when they first started, he says. We had an all-out engagement there to clone human telomerase. It had been cloned in other animals but not in humans or mammals.

If you were to unravel the tip of the chromosome, a telomere is about 15,000 bases long at the moment of conception in the womb. Immediately after conception, your cells begin to divide, and your telomeres begin to shorten each time the cell divides. Once your telomeres have been reduced to about 5,000 bases, you essentially die of old age.

What you have to know about telomerase is that it’s only on in embryonic cells. In adult cells, it’s totally, for the most part, turned off, with the exception of adult stem cells, Dr. Villeponteau explains. Adult stem cells have some telomerase not full and not like the embryonic stem cells, but they do have some telomerase activity.

Most of the research currently being done, both in academia and industrial labs, revolves around either embryonic stem cells, or a second type called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Dr. Villeponteau, on the other hand, believes adult stem cells are the easiest and most efficient way to achieve results.

That said, adult stem cells do have their drawbacks. While they’re your own cells, which eliminates the problem of immune-related issues, there’s just not enough of them. Especially as you get older, there are fewer and fewer adult stem cells, and they tend to become increasingly dysfunctional too. Yet another hurdle is that they don’t form the tissues that they need to form…

To solve such issues, Dr. Villeponteau has created a company with the technology and expertise to amplify your adult stem cells a million-fold or more, while still maintaining their ability to differentiate all the different cell types, and without causing the cells to age. Again, it is the adult stem cells ability to potentially cure, or at least ameliorate, many of our age-related diseases by regenerating tissue that makes this field so exciting.

Dr Villeponteau believes you can add many years, likely decades, to your life simply by eating right, exercising (which promotes the production of muscle stem cells, by the way) and living an otherwise clean and healthy lifestyle. Extreme life extension, on the other hand, is a different matter.

His book, Decoding Longevity, covers preventive strategies to prolong your life, mainly diet, exercise, and supplements. A portion of the book also covers future developments in the area of more radical life extension, such as stem cell technology.

If you would like to read the entire interview here is a link to the text version:

Click here for more information about Stem Cell 100

Transcript of Interview With Dr. Bryant Villeponteau by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Aging Reversed / ABC News

Now researchers have found a way not just to stop, but, reverse the aging process. The key is something called a telomere. We all have them. They are the tips or caps of your chromosomes. They are long and stable in young adults, but, as we age they become shorter, damaged and frayed. When they stop working we start aging and experience things like hearing and memory loss.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal Nature scientists took mice that were prematurely aged to the equivalent of 80-year-old humans, added an enzyme and essentially turned their telomeres back on. After the treatment they were the physiological equivalent of young adults. You can see the before and after pictures in the videos above. Brain function improved, their fertility was restored it was a remarkable reversal of the aging process. In the top video the untreated mouse shows bad skin, gray hair and it is balding. The mouse with it’s telomeres switched back on has a dark coat color, the hair is restored and the coat has a nice healthy sheen to it. Even more dramatic is the change in brain size. Before treatment the aged mice had 75% of a normal size brain like a patient with severe Alzheimers. After the telomeres were reactivated the brain returned to normal size. As for humans while it is just one factor scientists say the longer the telomeres the better the chances for a more graceful aging.

The formal study Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise was published in Nature.

Additional information published by Harvard can be found in the following articles.

Scientists Find Root Molecular Cause of Declining Health in the Old

Decoding Immortality – Smithsonian Channel Video about the Discovery of Telomerase

While scientists are not yet able to accomplish the same results in humans we believe we have developed a nutraceutical to help prolong youth and possibly extend life until age reversal therapy for humans becomes available.

Stem Cells Secret’s of 115 Year Old Woman

New evidence that adult stem cells are critical to human aging has recently been published on a study done on a super-centenarian woman that lived to be 115 years. At death, her circulating stem cell pool had declined to just two active stem cells from stem cell counts that are typically more than a thousand in younger adults. Super-centenarians have survived all the normal diseases that kill 99.9% of us before 100 years of age, so it has been a mystery as to what actually kills these hardy individuals. This recent data suggest that stem cell decline may be the main contributor to aging. If so, stabilizing stem cells may be the best thing one can do to slow your rate of aging.

There are many theories of aging that have been proposed. For example, damage to cells and tissues from oxidative stress has been one of the most popular fundamental theories of aging for more than half a century. Yet antioxidant substances or genes that code antioxidant enzymes have proven largely ineffective in slowing aging when tested in model animals. Thus, interest by scientists has shifted to other hypotheses that might provide a better explanation for the slow declines in function with age.

Stem cells provide one such promising mechanism of aging. Of course, we all know that babies are young and vigorous, independent of the age of their parents. This is because adults have embryonic stem cells that can generate young new cells needed to form a complete young baby. Indeed, these embryonic stem cells are the product of continuously evolving stem cell populations that go back to the beginning of life on earth over 3.5 billion years ago!

In adults, the mostly immortal embryonic stem cells give rise to mortal adult stem cells in all the tissues of the body. These adult stem cells can regenerate your cells and tissues as they wear out and need replacement. Unfortunate, adult stem cells also age, which leads to fewer cells and/or loss of function in cell replacement. As functional stem cells decline, skin and organs decline with age.

Blood from world’s oldest woman suggests life limit

Time Magazine: Long-Life Secrets From The 115-Year-Old Woman

Somatic mutations found in the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman demonstrate oligoclonal hematopoiesis

Abstract
The somatic mutation burden in healthy white blood cells (WBCs) is not well known. Based on deep whole-genome sequencing, we estimate that approximately 450 somatic mutations accumulated in the nonrepetitive genome within the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman. The detected mutations appear to have been harmless passenger mutations: They were enriched in noncoding, AT-rich regions that are not evolutionarily conserved, and they were depleted for genomic elements where mutations might have favorable or adverse effects on cellular fitness, such as regions with actively transcribed genes. The distribution of variant allele frequencies of these mutations suggests that the majority of the peripheral white blood cells were offspring of two related hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clones. Moreover, telomere lengths of the WBCs were significantly shorter than telomere lengths from other tissues. Together, this suggests that the finite lifespan of HSCs, rather than somatic mutation effects, may lead to hematopoietic clonal evolution at extreme ages.

Reversing Aging in Brain Cells

As we age brain stiffness increases which leads to stem cell dysfunction. New research has demonstrated new ways to reverse this aging process in older stem cells into a younger and healthier state. The results may provide immense implications for understanding the aging process and how new much needed treatments can be developed for brain diseases that are related to aging.

Muscles and joints become stiff as our bodies age which makes movements much more difficult. The study indicates the same is true of the brain. Brain stiffening leads to significant impact on how brain stem cells function.

The multi disciplinary study team which was based at the Wellcome MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, observed both old and young rats to help understand how brain stiffening due to age impacts the function of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). These type of cells are one of the types of brain stem cells which are important to maintaining normal function of the brain. They are also involved in the regeneration of myelin, the fatty sheath which surrounds our nerves and is damaged in multiple sclerosis.

MS affects over 100,000 in the UK, but the affects of age on these cells also declines as healthy people age.

To see whether the function loss in aged OPCs was reversible, the team transplanted older OPCs from the aged rates into the spongy, soft brains of the younger rats. Surprisingly, the older brain cells were rejuvenated and they started to behave similar to the younger, more rigorous cells.

The team them sought to understand how brain stiffness and softness influences the behavior of cells. They investigated Pierzo1 which is a protein found on the surface of the cell and informs the cells whether the environment surrounding it is stiff or soft.

The team was fascinated to see that when they grew young, functioning rat brain stem cells on the stiff material, the cells then became dysfunctional and then lost the ability to regenerate. They actually began to look like older cells. When the older brain cells were grown on the material that was soft they started to function similar to young cells.

When the team removed Piezo1 from the surface of the older brain stem cells, they were able to trick those cells into perceiving a soft surrounding environment even when they were grown on the stiffer material. They were able to delete Piezo1 in the OPCs in the older rat brains which then led the cells to become more rejuvenated and again they were able to assume their normal function of regeneration.

MS is a painful, disabling and relentless disease. Treatments that can prevent or slow the accumulation of disability over time are needed. The study teams research on how brain stem cells age and how the process could be reserved has important implications for treatments in the future.

To view the original scientific study click below

Niche stiffness underlies the ageing of central nervous system progenitor cells.

New Technique to Help Bones Heal Faster

A research team at the University of Illinois, Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new and unique technique which uses flexible implantable bone stabilizing plates and stem cells to speed healing of bone defects or large breaks.

This new technique uses stem cells applied at break sites to experience mechanical stress which they do in developing embryos. The forces this creates might help stimulate stem cells to develop into cartilage and bone in addition to encouraging other cell types contained in the bone to regenerate.

Stem cells require environmental cues in order to be able to differentiate into cells which make up unique tissues. Stem cells which give rise to cartilage and bone are subject to mechanical type forces during healing and development.

As bones heal, stem cells contained within the bone marrow near the break site initially become cartilage cells then bone cells which eventually knits together the break. When large gaps between deformed or broken bones occur, adding more stem cells to the break sites can encourage bones to heal faster by either stimulating formation of bone by neighboring cells or by actively participating in the process of regeneration.

However, to use stem cells to regenerate bone, these cells must be delivered to the defect site and then differentiate appropriately for stimulation for repair. The team has developed a unique preparation of these cells which can be manipulated and handled easily for implantation. This supports the cellular differentiation process which occur in embryonic development of bone.

For the preparation, stem cells were cultured to link to each other to form either plugs or sheets. This preparation additionally contained gelatin micro particles which were loaded with growth factors which will help stem cells differentiate. The plugs or sheets can be manipulated and then implanted and thus reduce the tendency for cells to drift away. These materials are called condensates.

In earlier studies, the team used condensates in rodent models to help heal bone defects in their skull. They observed that the condensates remained in place and were able to improve the extent and rate of regeneration of bone.

Recently, they took their idea step further. They developed a unique and flexible fixator. Typically fixators are stiff metal bars or plates which are used to stabilize bones at the break site. These types of fixators reduce the amount of mechanical stress breaks will experience during the healing process.

The flexible fixator would allow the cells in the condensates to experience compressive forces which are critical to stimulating cartilage enhancement and formation of bone.

The team used a rat model for determining how mechanical forces present in bone defects affect the ability of condensates to contribute to formation of bone. When the team used the condensate sheets along with a flexible fixator in the rate models with a femur defect, they observed there was not only enhanced healing but also the bones showed better mechanical function when compared to control rats which had received the condensates and the stiff, more traditional fixators.

The team says the techniques and devices they develop from their research could additionally influence the way physical therapy is implemented after an injury. The findings support regenerative rehabilitation which is an emerging paradigm concept which marries physical therapy principles with regenerative medicine. The goal is to understand how mechanical stimuli will influence the behavior of cells to better impact the outcomes of patients without additional devices or drugs.

To view the original scientific study click below

Recapitulating bone development through engineered mesenchymal condensations and mechanical cues for tissue regeneration.

New Cell May Replace Liver Transplants

A study conducted at the King’s College London, Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, have used sequencing of single cell RNA to help identify a cell type that might have the ability to regenerate tissue in the liver. This discovery could possibly lead to treating liver failure without transplants.

The research team identified a new cell type called hepatobiliary hybrid progenitor (HhyP) which is formed during early development in the womb. HhyP also persist in adults in small quantities and these cell types have the ability to grow into two main types of cells of the adult liver (Hepatocytes and Cholangiocytes) which gives HhyPs properties similar to stem cells.

The researchers examined HhyPs finding that they resemble stem cells in mice which were found to quickly repair livers in mice after major injury such as what might occur in cirrhosis.

This is the first time cells have been found with true stem cell like properties which may exist in the liver in humans. This could in turn provide a large range of applications for regenerative medicine for treating diseases of the liver. This could possibly include bypassing liver transplants.

Diseases of the liver are the fifth largest killers in the UK and the third most common cause of death due to premature causes. And the number of human cases continues to rise. Liver diseases can be due to lifestyle issues such as viruses, alcohol misuse, and obesity, or non lifestyle issues which include genetic mediated disease and autoimmune diseases.

Liver disease symptoms include itching, jaundice, and feelings of tiredness and weakness. Severe cases include cirrhosis. The only treatment at this time for severe diseases of the liver is a liver transplant. This can lead to a lifetime of complications. Also, the need for donor livers greatly outweighs increasing demands for this type of transplant.

The need now is for researchers to work quickly to discover the method for converting pluripotent stem cells into the HhyP cells so that transplants of these cells into patients can occur. The team also will be working to see if there is an ability to reprogram HhyPs inside the body through traditional pharmacological medications to repair diseased livers without either the cell or organ transplants.

To view the original scientific study click below

Single cell analysis of human foetal liver captures the transcriptional profile of hepatobiliary hybrid progenitors

Offset Risk of Dementia with Healthy Lifestyle

A new study at the University of Exeter has discovered another good reason to live a healthy lifestyle! The research found that in people with a high genetic risk for developing dementia the risk was 32 percent lower if they followed a healthy lifestyle.

Study participants who had a high genetic risk and led an unhealthy lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop the disease compared to participants who led a favorable lifestyle and had a low genetic risk of developing dementia.

This study was the first to analyze to what extent a person might offset their genetic risk of developing dementia when living a healthy lifestyle. The findings show that when a person takes action to do their best to offset the risk by living healthy, they can make a difference regardless of the genetic risk.

The study included analyzed data from 196,383 adults aged 60 and older and of European ancestry. The research team identified 1,769 cases of dementia during the follow up period of eight years. The study team grouped all participants into three groups…those with low genetic risk, intermediate genetic risk and high risk.

To assess the genetic risk, the team studied previously published data and then identified known genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Every genetic risk factor was weighted through the strength of its association with this disease.

To assess lifestyles, the team groups all participants into unfavorable, intermediate and favorable categories which were based on self reported physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption and smoking. The team considered regular physical activity, no current smoking, moderate alcohol consumption and healthy diet as healthy behaviors.

The study team discovered that living a healthy lifestyle was linked to a reduced dementia risk across all the genetic risk groups. The team reports that their research delivers a very important message that undermines the fatalistic views of dementia. Many people believe that developing dementia is inevitable due to their genetics. However, because of this new study, it appears people may be able to substantially reduce their risk of development the disease through healthy lifestyle habits.

To view the original scientific study click below

Association of Lifestyle and Genetic Risk With Incidence of Dementia

Exposure to Nature Reduces Unhealthy Cravings

New research led by the University of Plymouth has found that exposure to green spaces and nature is associated with lower cravings for cigarettes, alcohol, and unhealthy food choices. This is the first study to reveal that passive exposure to close green spaces is linked to not only lower frequency of cravings, but also the strength of those cravings.

This study builds on earlier research which suggested that exercising in nature can also reduce cravings. This new study demonstrates the same may also be true even irrespective of any physical activity.

The findings add to increasing evidence that points to the need to invest and protect green spaces within cities and towns. These investments help maximize public health benefits that people can afford. The current study also suggests the causality link of this needs to be better investigated.

The research is the first to study the relationship between people’s exposure to natural environments, experiencing negative feelings or emotions, and cravings for a range of appetite substances. The study involved academics from the School of Psychology with included support from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter.

It has been known that being outdoors in nature is associated to a person’s well being. However, the possibility of a similar link with cravings from just being able to see green spaces, adds a new dimension to the previous research. The study could have a range of possibilities for environmental protection programs and public health in the future.

For the study, the participants completed an online survey which explored relationships between a variety of nature exposure and cravings. It measured the proportion of green space which was located in a person’s residential neighborhood, the amount of green views that was seen from their home, their access to an allotment or garden, and also the frequency to which they visited public green spaces.

The results indicated that people who have access to an allotment or garden were associated with both reduced cravings strength and frequency. Residential views which incorporated more than 25% of green space showed similar responses.

The study additionally measured physical activity that was undertaken within the identical time frame as the cravings were assessed. This part of the study also indicated reduced cravings occurred irrespective of physical activity levels.

Cravings contribute to a host of health damaging behaviors such as excessive drinking, smoking, and the consumption of unhealthy foods. As a result, these cravings contribute to some of the most challenging global health issues of our time. This includes obesity, diabetes and cancer. Showing that more exposure to green spaces is associated with lower cravings can prove to be promising for future public and private programs and individual health.

To view the original scientific study click here: Natural environments and craving: The mediating role of negative affect.

Organs are a Mix of New and Old Cells

cellsIt was once thought that neurons and possibly heart cells, were the oldest cells in the human body. However, researchers have discovered that the mouse liver, brain and pancreas contain populations of proteins and cells with very long lifespans with some as old as neurons.

The findings at the Salk Institute demonstrating age mosaicism could be applied to nearly any body tissue for providing valuable information about the lifelong function of non dividing cells and how cells lose control over the integrity and control of proteins and important cell structures during the aging process.

The team was very surprised to discover cellular structures that are as old as the organism where they reside. This discovery suggests even greater cellular complexity than was previously imagined. It provides intriguing implications about how we think about the aging process of organs such as the heart, pancreas and brain.

Most brain neurons do not divide in adulthood and therefore experience a long lifespan and then age related decline. However, due to technical limitations, the life of cells outside the brain has been difficult to determine. Researchers have wondered how old the cells are in an organism.

There has been the general idea that neurons are old yet other cells in the human body are relatively young and will regenerate throughout the lifetime of the organism. The research team proceeded to see if there was the possibility that certain organs also have cells that are as long lived as brain neurons.

The researchers knew that most neurons will not be replaced during lifespan. They utilized them as an age baseline for comparison to other non dividing cells. They combined electron isotope labeling with a hybrid imaging method so they could visualize and then quantify protein and cell age and turnover in the liver, pancreas and brain in both old and young rodents.

To validate the method, the team initially determined the age of the neurons and found that they were as old as the organism. However, the cells that line blood vessels, known as endothelial cells, were also as old as the neurons. This means that some of the non neuronal cells do not replace or replicate themselves during lifespan.

The pancreas which is an organ whose function it is to maintain blood sugar levels and also secrete digestive enzymes, also showed cells at different ages. A small portion of the pancreas appeared as a puzzle of interconnected old and young cells. Some of the beta cells which release insulin replicated through lifetime and were relatively young. However, some did not divide and were long lived which is similar to neurons. Another type of cell called delta cells, did not divide at all. The pancreas is a great example of age mosaicism or a population of identical cells which are distinguished by their lifespans.

Previous research has suggested the liver has the ability to regenerate during adulthood so the team chose this organ with the expectation of seeing relatively young liver cells. However, the vast majority of liver cells in healthy adult mice were as old as the mice while cells which line blood vessels and stellate like cells, were much shorter lived. The liver also demonstrated ago moscaicism which indicates potential new paths of regenerative research of this organ.

Due to new visualizing technologies, the team was able to pinpoint the age of cells and their supra molecular complexes more precisely that before. This opens new paths for studying tissues, cells and organs in both normal and in diseased states.

By determining the age of sub cellular structures and cells in adult organisms, new insights into cell repair mechanisms and maintenance and the impact of cumulative changes during adulthood on development of diseases and health can occur.

The ultimate goal is to be able to utilize these mechanisms in an effort to delay and prevent age related decline of organs with limited cell renewal. The team plans to decipher the differences in lifespans for lipids and nucleic acids and also to understand how age mosaicism relates to diseases and overall health.

To view the original scientific study click here: Age Mosaicism across Multiple Scales in Adult Tissues.

How the Brain Affects Aging

A new discovery by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has shown that stem cells found in the brain’s hypothalamus affect how fast our body’s age. The discovery which was made in mice, could possibly lead to new strategies for defending against age related diseases and even extending lifespan.

The hypothalamus regulates critical processes including development, growth, metabolism and reproduction. Einstein researchers made the surprising discovery that it also regulates aging throughout the entire body. Now, they have pinpointed the exact cells in the hypothalamus that control the process of aging. These cells are a tiny population of adult neural stem cells which are known to be responsible for the formation of new brain neurons.

The research has shown that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells will naturally decline throughout the life of an animal. This decline will accelerate with aging. The team also discovered that the effects of this stem cell loss are not irreversible. Through replenishing these stem cell or the molecules they produce, it is possible to slow down and even reverse a variety of the aspects associated with aging within the body.

To study whether stem cells found in the hypothalamus hold the key to aging, the team first looked at the fate of the stem cells as healthy mice aged. The number of these stem cells did begin to decline when the mice reached almost 10 months of age which is quit a few months before the normal signs of aging start to appear. By old age which is about two years in mice, most of these stem cells were gone.

The team then wanted to learn whether the progressive loss of these stem cells was actually causing the aging and was not only associated with it. They observed what happened after they selectively disrupted these stem cells in the hypothalamus in middle aged mice. The disruption greatly accelerated the aging compared with control mice. The mice with the disrupted stem cells also died earlier than what would be normal.

The question became, could adding stem cells to the hypothalamus actually counteract aging? The team sought to answer that question by injecting hypothalamic stem cells in the brains of the middle aged mice whose stem cells were destroyed along with injecting the brains of the normal older mice. In both groups of mice the treatment either slowed or reserved a variety of measures of aging.

The team found that the hypothalamic stem cells appeared to exert their anti aging effects by the release of molecules called microRNAs. Rather than being involved in the synthesis of protein, they instead played key roles in regulating gene expression. MicroRNAs are contained inside tiny particles known as exosomes which stem cells in the hypothalamus release into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice.

The team then extracted microRNA containing exosomes from the hypothalamic stem cells and injected them into the cerebrospinal fluid of two different groups of mice…middle aged mice whose hypothalamic stem cells were destroyed and the normal middle aged mice. The treatment showed significant slowing of aging in both groups of mice through a measure of tissue analysis and also behavioral testing which involved assessing any changes in the mice’s coordination, muscle endurance, cognitive ability and social behavior.

They are now working at identifying the particular populations of the microRNAs and even other factors secreted by these stem cells which are responsible for the anti aging effects. This is potentially a first step to possibly slowing down the aging process and also treating a variety of age related diseases.

To view the original scientific study click below

Hypothalamic stem cells control ageing speed partly through exosomal miRNAs