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Clearing Zombie Cells With Programming Rather Than Poisoning

9 months ago

6414  0
Posted on Jan 22, 2021, 3 p.m.

Oisín Biotechnologies' ground-breaking research and technology is demonstrating that the solution to mitigating the effects of age-related diseases is to address the damage created by the aging process itself. The late preclinical stage biotechnology company was recently named one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2020 in MIT Technology Review. Additionally, the company has also closed a $3 million pres-seed SAFE funding round to further R&D efforts.

This biotech is hard at work with hopes of mitigating the effects of age-related diseases by developing a new class of therapeutics, a proteo-lipid vehicle containing a DNA payload, that kills cancerous and damaged cells based on their genetics, rather than targeting cells with chemistry or surface markers they are targeting based on the genes being read inside the genes to effectively kill cells based on their programming. In simple terms, rather than poisoning damaged cells, the company is programming damaged cells to self-destruct. 

“The growth and interest we have seen in developing therapeutics that can slow or halt damage caused by the aging process has dramatically increased in the past few years. While the world has always been interested in the proverbial ‘fountain of youth,’ Oisín is pursuing a scientifically sound, targeted approach that may have the potential to address the biological underpinnings of some of society’s most devastating age-related diseases.” said Matthew Scholz who is the co-founder and CEO of Oisin Biotechnologies. 

According to the ambitious senolytics company, first, the PLVs are infused into the patient via I.V, enabling the PLVs to circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream where they will come into contact with healthy and damaged cells. Then the PLVs will deliver their DNA payload to any cell that they come in contact with by depositing the payload directly into the cell’s cytoplasm where the DNA payload will kill only damaged or cancerous cells, in healthy cells the DNA payload is ignored. Basically, the DNA payload is like a computer program that tells damaged or cancerous cells to produce a death protein that triggers apoptosis programmed cell death. Finishing off the process new healthy cells replace the cells that were killed off; nearby stem cells divide and replace the cells that were killed leaving behind healthy tissue and any remaining DNA from the PLV is naturally degraded. 

The first target is senescent cells, according to the company’s website, their patent-pending SENSOlytics DNA targeting intervention is being developed to clear these accumulating zombie cells that lead to a vast number of age-related diseases. The biotech suggests that their proprietary technology gives these cells a helping hand to “do the right thing” by providing an exogenous apoptotic gene to precisely induce senescent cells to commit suicide. This technology enables precise targeting of senescent cells based on DNA expression of the cell rather than markers or other characteristics that may be shared with normal and healthy cells. 

Oisin studies report as much as an 80% reduction in senescent cells in cell culture and a significant reduction of senescent cell burden in naturally aged mice extending median lifespan by more than 20% even when the treatment was started in old age. However, the cell death rate is dependent upon the tissue type and dose, and it is unknown what percentage of senescent cells would be cleared in humans. The company anticipates that a senolytic gene therapy for humans could involve several treatments, but this has yet to be determined, more will be learned about how their findings thus far will translate to humans during human trials. 

“Our approach is pretty much the exact opposite of the traditional pharmaceutical approach. With our approach, there is no drug, no poison at all – just a little program written in DNA. We’ve effectively taken targeting out of the realm of chemistry and brought it into the realm of information,” says Scholz.

“The ultimate goal is to eliminate unnecessary suffering. I think that everyone who believes in the mission of longevity is striving towards this. By realizing these therapies, we can start to fundamentally change the way that humans think about aging and disease,” said Henry Garcia who is the head of aging research and development at Oisin Biotechnologies.

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