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Harvard Biology Star To Cure Aging and Resurrect Dinosaurs

From Jurassic Park to The Fountain of Youth

MIT’s alumni magazine often hypes tech,  The latest is the announcement that George Church, a major geneticist given to self promotion worthy of Jurassic park, now is starting a company that will reverse aging.

GMO DOGS

Church’s co-founders, the CEO Daniel Oliver and  Noah Davidsohn, a postdoc in Church’s lab, declined to be interviewed for the MIT article.

 MIT’s Technology Review says that Harvard’s George Church, already known for proposing to clone dinosaurs, has founded a company that is going to edit dog genomes so they live forever. GMO dags, they say, will be the the next big thing.  Imagine a pet that lives as long as you do, or even longer! Professor Church says that “We have already done a bunch of trials in mice and we are doing some in dogs, and then we’ll move on to humans.”  The startup figures to make a profit from the $72-billion-a-year US pet industry.

Professor Church is quoted as saying that “Dogs are a market in and of themselves … (they are not )  just …  close to humans … (dogs are ) .. something people will pay for, and the FDA process is much faster. We’ll do dog trials, and that’ll be a product, and that’ll pay for scaling up in human trials. …  “You don’t want to go to the FDA and say we extend life by 20 years. They’d say, ‘Great, come back in 20 years with the data.,’”

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Harvard is seeking a broad patent for Reuvenate’s work in species including the “cow, pig, horse, cat, dog, rat, etc.”  Presumably this technology goes beyond making people’s pets live longer. MIT Tech Review reports that “Rejuvenate Bio has won a grant from the US Special Operations Command to look into “enhancement” of military dogs.  The images this provokes are pretty startling …. drone dogs?  Maybe they are working with the comic book industry to create  Science Dog is half man, half dog, and all hero?

The new company may even reach to the level of President Trump.  Mr. Trump’s only well known Silicon Valley supporter ,  Peter Thiel is also obsessed with aging.  Noah Davidsohn, a founder of Rejuvenate and  postdoc in Church’s lab told Thiel and his  Founders Fund “we’ll be able to control the biological clock and keep you whatever age you want.”  No one knows if this spiel has reached Mr. Trump yet.

DOG SHOWS

The new company has been contacting dog breeders, ethicists, and veterinarians. The strategy is to gain a foothold in the pet market — where Americans already lavish $20 billion a year on vet bills .

Naturally, Rejuvenate is already in the dog show business.  MIT Tech Review reports that

Image result for human dog hybrid cartoon

Science Dog is half man, half dog, and all hero

Davidsohn and Oliver traveled to the national show for the Cavalier King Charles spaniels.  These tiny toy dogs suffer from a heart ailment  that kills about half of the pets  by age 10.  An auction dinner at the show raised several thousand dollars for a trial aimed at TGF-beta, a gene that controls scar formation in these valves. In a flyer circulated to spaniel owners last year, Rejuvenate stated, without qualification, that the still untested treatment would make pets “healthier, happier, and younger.”

Tech Review goes on to say that not all dog owners are impressed. To Rod Russell, editor of the website CavalierHealth.org, the offer is “pure hype.” He says there is “absolutely no evidence” for a way to make dogs younger and that even for pets, experimental drugs can’t be said to work before a study is complete. “No one would be naïve enough to contribute money on a promise that this treatment will make their Cavaliers younger. Or would they?” he asks on his site. Scarring, after all is not the same thing as aging. Church is quoted as saying that pet owners won’t worry about semantics “if the dog is jumping around wagging its tail.”


1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Roger Rabbit #
    1

    Dinosaurs have been here all along. They’re called “Republicans.”



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