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Medicine Science

Anti-Aging Stem Cell Treatment Proves Successful In Early Human Trials (newatlas.com) 84

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: The results of two human clinical trials into a stem cell therapy that can reverse symptoms of age-associated frailty have been published, and the indications are that this landmark treatment is both safe and strikingly effective in tackling key factors in aging. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a particular type of adult stem cell generating a great deal of interest in the world of science. This new MSC treatment is targeted at reducing the effects of frailty on senior citizens. This is the first anti-aging stem cell treatment directed specifically at the problem of age-associated frailty to move close to a final FDA approval stage. The treatment derives human mesenchymal stem cells from adult donor bone marrow and in these clinical trials involves a single infusion in patients with an average age of 76. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 human trials have demonstrated the treatment to have no adverse health effects.

Although the two human trials were ostensibly designed to just demonstrate safety they do offer remarkable results in efficacy as well, paving the way for larger, Phase 3 clinical trials. In the first trial 15 frail patients received a single MSC infusion collected from bone marrow donors aged between 20 and 45 years old. Six months later all patients demonstrated improved fitness outcomes, tumor necrosis factor levels and overall quality of life. The second trial was a randomized, double blind study with placebo group. Again no adverse affects were reported and physical improvements were noted by the researchers as "remarkable." The next stage for the research is to move into an expanded Phase 2b clinical trial involving 120 subjects across 10 locations. After that a final, large randomized Phase 3 clinical trial will be the only thing holding the treatment back from final public approval.
The results of the Phase 1 clinical trial were recently published in The Journals of Gerontology. The results of the Phase 2 clinical trial were recently published in The Journals of Gerontology. Further reading available via University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.
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Anti-Aging Stem Cell Treatment Proves Successful In Early Human Trials

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  • Doesn't hold water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by philmarcracken ( 1412453 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @06:47PM (#55426817)

    Reposted from a more reputable interpreter of the results on reddit:

    "I look at these results [imgur.com]

    (Fig. 2 from the journal article, supposedly demonstrating an improvement in frailty markers) and just see noise. No dose-response. No consistent benefit across measures for different treatment groups.

    The figure shows four different tests for resilience to age-related frailty - each fig. 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d represent how each of the treatment groups performed on these tests at different time points.

    There were three treatment groups: patients receiving 100 million cells (100-M), patients receiving 200 million cells (200-M) and a placebo group.
    The 100 million cell group showed a stat dig improvement in the six minute walk test.

    The problem, though, is that the 200 million group did not. So there is no dose response relationship. Generally, if a drug is real, the more drug you apply the stronger treatment effect you observe (lots of caveats to this generality, but none seem too relevant here).
    Further, the 100 million group on showed a positive outcome in the six minute walk test. It failed to demonstrate efficacy consistently in the other three tests the researchers used to measure resilience against age-related frailty. In some cases it was even worse than placebo.

    I would happily bet an amount of money that mattered to me that this result would fail to be replicated in a randomized, placebo-controlled study."

    • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @08:27PM (#55427251) Homepage

      Very interesting results -- thanks for pointing them out.

      It's notable that the 200M cell group performed at best the same, but usually worse than placebo on almost every test at every time frame. I'd have to disagree with you about dose response, though. Every medicine is going to have a bell curve of efficacy, and it looks like they just guessed too high on higher dose.

      Also, you imply that the 100M cell group only improved on the 6 minute walk test. In fact, that group had statistically significant improvement on 3 out of 4 tests.

    • by drunken_boxer777 ( 985820 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @09:02PM (#55427397)

      I agree that it likely won't be replicated in a larger trial, but not for the reasons that you state.

      Dose response can be straightforward in small molecule drugs, like aspirin. It becomes more complicated in biologic drugs, like granulocyte colony stimulating factor (filgrastim). We don't really know how it will work with stem cells, and the authors do list biologically plausible reasons why they don't see a dose response.

      The real issue (besides the really low # of subjects) is the statistical analysis. They compare change from baseline (outcomes at 6 months vs. baseline) within a treatment group and look for statistical significance. What they should be doing is comparing change from baseline within a group vs. the change from baseline of the placebo group. See how the error bars of the 100 M group at 90 and 180 days overlap with the error bars of the placebo group in figure 2A? Not statistically different from placebo.

      Granted, it would be crazy effective if it were statistically significant vs. placebo in such a small trial. However, their poor use of statistics (including no accounting for multiple analyses) is a major red flag. But this is about raising VC, as others might have pointed out. Multiple authors with MBAs rather than professional degrees (PhD, MD) is a giveaway.

    • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @09:17PM (#55427449) Homepage

      Dose response is for medication. This is not medicine, but instead a transplant of live cells.

      Live cell transplants often do not get a dose response.

      Compare with bread making - the difference between putting in 1 tablespoon of yeast and 2 tablespoons of yeast is minute.

      I am not saying the study did great, but your major criticism is not appropriate for this type of treatment.

    • by yndrd1984 ( 730475 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @09:50PM (#55427553)

      Generally, if a drug is real, the more drug you apply the stronger treatment effect you observe (lots of caveats to this generality, but none seem too relevant here).

      Why? First - it's not a drug. Second, even drugs (e.g. Seroquel) don't always do that - as you increase the dosage first it's an antihistamine, then causes low blood pressure, then it's an anti-psychotic - and that's a single molecule. Some drugs even manage to have a U-shaped response curve.

      I would happily bet an amount of money that mattered to me that this result would fail to be replicated in a randomized, placebo-controlled study.

      I would as well, just because of how often these early trials fail to produce usable results. But in the long run we have to make some long shots or we'll never get anywhere.

    • Interesting insights, and I won't disagree with those conclusions, as I am not an expert in the field, nor have I read the actual journal article.

      I will, however, point out that the purpose of the trial phase they were in was not to demonstrate efficacy, but to demonstrate the safety of the procedure. I would presume that many of the criticisms/questions you raise will be studied more thoroughly in the next phase. It would not be the first time that a drug or treatment was found to be safe, but mostly
  • We see health breakthroughs like this reported all the time, yet the ages people live to and the quality of life for the elderly haven't budged in the developed world for a long time. So what's the catch, what's the misrepresentation, what's the flaw in this treatment?

    • Actually,median age at death for white males is DOWN over the last 17 years.
      It's the outsourcing and Walmarting of jobs.
      • Or maybe it's the elimination of trans-fats in fast foods and snack foods. Who can say? It's not like our world population is a properly controlled study.

      • People on average are poorer than they were. And being poor is a surprisingly huge factor when it comes to life expectancy.

        • Wrong
          Median income for White Males is HIGHER [bls.gov] than in 2001 [census.gov]
          As always, the facts get in the way
          • You had to go back to 2001 to make it true?

            Hey, guess what: You really did [wikipedia.org].

            And we're not even adjusting for inflation yet.

            Not to mention that median income says exactly zilch. If you have one leg in the oven and the other in the freezer, your median temperature is cozy. What you would at least have to add is the actual distribution.

            • Wrong.
              Check the Census links and the Dept. of Labor. EVERYTHING is in 2001 dollars
              MEDIAN means 50% of the PEOPLE are above that level and 50% below, so YES incomes for the majority of Americans are up, however slightly, in 2001 dollars
              Nice try though
              • Median still means jack shit if you offer no deviation. The median income in some countries looks nice until you notice that you basically have a group of fantastically rich and a group of incredibly poor with little in between. Quite a few places in the middle east are looking that way and it looks like China is preparing to go that way too.

                But I guess as long as you find an excuse to call me stupid, it matters little to you, right?

            • Oh, btw, I didn't use the 2010 census because, you know, BUSH CRASH still had 12 million MORE people out of work
              Which would have made you look even more incorrect (stupid)
    • I expect other factors (non medical) are coming into play that are counteracting it’s benefits for some people.

      The people who are in their 70’s and 80’s who are active and involved are actually in better conditions then they ever been in. However for the people the same age who have been more or less isolated and inactive are in worse case.

      I think the problem isn’t Health Care but general Caring.
      As the boomers who grew up in the Hippie culture to the yuppie culture to the hot mess t

    • I agree that science and the click-baiters tend to over promise ... but hasn't budged? In this case I see the exact opposite.
  • So, where did they manage to find early Humans to do these trials on? I mean, everything from Homo Habilis through Neanderthal is extinct. :D

  • Life imitates Futurama.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      I don't think they were testing on heads in jars.
    • Life imitates Futurama.

      Or South Park [wikia.com]

      In "Krazy Kripples", Christopher Reeve comes to town to promote stem cell research. In order to 'cure' his quadriplegia, he is shown sucking the fluids out of fetuses from a medical bio-hazard container. With each fetus he sucks dry, Reeves becomes healthier and more dependent on them for his developing super human strength.

      Hmm... Maybe it's art imitating life.

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @06:56PM (#55426879)
    ... into investing their fortune into some pot of gold that waits at the end of the rainbow.

    And BTW: If such a method actually worked well, people would rather not make this public, but use it in seclusion, knowing well that otherwise they would soon compete with way too many eternal-living people for resources on this planet.
    Or would you think that somebody who's able to live for 1000 years would still want to work for others after the first 100?
    • I don't think we can expect gigantic leaps in age. I think the main benefit is that the years you do have are healthier.
    • by Eloking ( 877834 )

      ... into investing their fortune into some pot of gold that waits at the end of the rainbow.

      And BTW: If such a method actually worked well, people would rather not make this public, but use it in seclusion, knowing well that otherwise they would soon compete with way too many eternal-living people for resources on this planet.

      Or would you think that somebody who's able to live for 1000 years would still want to work for others after the first 100?

      Not gonna happen. At least not for long.

      Such a discovery will require a lot of people. Lot of people with even more friend/families that you would need to shut up.

      Add to this the greed. You live forever, but you could be rich by selling the thing to billionaire. And now you got even more people to shut up.

    • Everyone could live forever. Comfortably.

      When tylenol was introduced there may have been some people who tried to hide their stash, but I wouldn't call them the super-geniuses.

      The premise here is blatantly false.
  • In a related story, authorities are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a number of people aged 20 to 45 years old who lived near the testing facilities conducting the Trials...
    • In a related story, authorities are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a number of people aged 20 to 45 years old who lived near the testing facilities conducting the Trials...

      Ya, but the testing facility is also next to the Soylent Green [wikipedia.org] processing plant.

  • No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @07:10PM (#55426939) Journal

    I don't mind aging. As I get older, I just get more dangerous.

  • see stuff like this and give up on the concept of 'insurance' for health care. When tech lets us do maintenance to the human body insurance no longer makes sense. After all, you won't find anyone who'll tell you that extended car warrantees are anything more than a scam. And besides, google the phrase "Wallet Biopsy" some time and despair.
    • by Motard ( 1553251 )

      Yes, by all means, let's 86 the whole concept of insurance because future tech might do something useful. After all, health insurance is exactly like a car warranty.

      My God, why didn't we think of this before?

    • Normally I'd agree with you and normally I'd never buy one. BUT, I've got mag shocks in a car and saw they are like 1200/pr. I got an extended warranty for around 1.6K that covered the shocks along with almost everything else. 2 months out of manufacturer warranty the rear diff went. The extended warranty covered it. 4K with labor. Paid for the extended warranty and then some and I still have a couple years left on the extended. First one I have ever bought (and this is like my 10th car) and I am normally a

  • Anti-aging treatments will decimate their demographics, the median age, someone noted [slashdot.org], is "dead five years".

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @02:02AM (#55428195)

    my body starts to wear - f.e. my eyes are getting worse and I'll need glasses soon ... annoying. Anyway, as my body starts to wear and show signs of the perpetual usage it's under I phantasize about being able to counteract signs of age, cyberpunk style. Like imagineing some drug I could take to regain brain performance (I feel that declining a little even though I'm putting it to good use (47, just enrolled in college for a BSc+MSc in Media-CompSci now that my daughter is out of the house) or some bioware/cyber treatment that replenishes joints and vertebrae disks and pushes bones back into shape.

    Just at the turn of this year I finally had a long overdue laser surgery on my inner nose. I've got an ever so slightly lopsided skull and had breathing problems as a result - this is not that uncommen. However, the mordern laser surgery was minimaly invasive and changed my quality of life in leaps and bounds - for the first time I can breathe correctly through the nose for extended periods of time. A change that has countless minor effects on my everday life including how I can socially interact.

    Long story short, we have bodies that are imperfect, wear out and we eventually die and that *does* suck. We all have our personal apocalypse coming and I really wish we'd have some way to add another 5 decades or so. I personally can't complain - I have good long-life genes in the family, I'm notably fit for my age - performing arts training, social dancing, cute ladies and sex as a hobby, bike as main means of transport, lean minimalist lifestyle - and I plan to get fitter - but I still notice end of warranty moving in on me.

    If there were a way to slow this, even if it were expensive - costing like a house or something - I'd try to do it. However, if I had the means to extend my life notably vis-a-vis my peers and I'd have to watch them wither and die whilst I stay lean and fit, I am well aware of the fact that that would only work out for me if I'd go along with a notable change of perspective on life in general. I'd probably eventually move to become some sort of guru to help people live their life to the fullest. ... After all, imagine what wisdom you gain from consciously living for 150 years or so. ... Quite awesome a proposition if you ask me.

    My thoughts on this. I do have those these days and I sure hope that someone makes some significant advances in anti-aging tech. Soon. That would be cool.

    • by fruey ( 563914 )
      The older you get, the more you wish you could slow aging and the more you tut at 7 figure Slashdot IDs.

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?

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