GeroScope, a new AI computer modelling system identifies a number of compounds that could be used in anti-aging therapies. But is there a hidden motive?

Insilico Medicine recently announced results, based on an algorithm named GeroScope, which compared cell data from donors between 15-30 years and 60> year old patients and searched for compounds which could inhibit the aging process.

Ten compounds were identified and then tested on human fibroplast stemcells with EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) and PD98059 showing the most potential. EGCG is an antioxidant found in large quantities in Green and White Tea and is sold as a dietary supplement. EGCG has been the subject of a number of basic and clinical research studies investigating its potential use as a therapeutic for a broad range of disorders. PD98059 has previously been shown to enhance embryonic stem cell self-renewal and is also known as a MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) inhibitor. MEK is an enzyme which can form part of a chain reaction linked to skin cancer.

In June 2016 it was announced that Life Extension Foundation had commissioned Insilico Medicine, a research company which applies advances in deep learning to biomarker and drug discovery, to ‘identify novel biomarkers of human aging through the use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence’.

Insilico is headed by CEO Alex Zhavoronkov (feature image) who is also the director of the UK based Biogerontology Research Foundation, as well as an adjunct professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and heads the laboratory of regenerative medicine at the Federal Clinical Research Centre for Pediatric Haematology, Oncology and Immunology in Moscow.

The Life Extension Foundation (LEF) which is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, derives much of its income from the sale of vitamins and supplements (including Green Tea extracts and citing the benefits of EGCG). With an annual revenue of between $25-50 milllionUSD, the company has invested in cryonics, donating to The Stasis Foundation and 21st Century Medicine.

It should be noted that in 2015 beneficial effects to humans from EGCG remained unsubstantiated and there are no approved health claims for it in the US or Europe. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters against marketers of products claiming that EGCG provides anti-disease effects or overall health benefits.

Despite the possible motivations behind Life Extension Foundation’s backing of Insilico, it does go to show that the future in anti-aging research and development lies in the use of AI, potentially saving thousands of human hours of research.

Featured image credit: The Telegraph

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