Analysis finds human DNA has ‘changed by 7%’
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Brian Armstrong, the founder and billionaire behind Coinbase, an American cryptocurrency company, launched his latest venture called NewLimit. The start-up is using machine learning to look for the cure for ageing.
The new “epigenetic reprogramming” company, aims to make therapies that reverse the ageing process.
Their statement read: “NewLimit will start by deeply interrogating epigenetic drivers of ageing and developing products that can regenerate tissues to treat specific patient populations.
“We will start by using primary human cells and reference species to develop machine learning models on what chromatin features change with age, which of these changes may be causal to the ageing process, and finally develop therapies that could slow, halt, or reverse this process.”
Mr Armstrong wants to use “epigenetic reprogramming” to figure out a way to restore the regenerative potential that humans tend to have when they’re younger.
However, this startup is still in its early stages, which means the most of the research and development has not begun yet.
Despite this, Mr Armstrong feels confident, saying that the company’s founders, which includes Stanford PhD Blake Byers, have committed $105million to get it off the ground.
In a shared press release, Mr Armstrong and Mr Byers said: “It is incredibly ambitious to try and ‘cure ageing’ and we believe this mission could take decades to achieve if it is achievable at all, but that is precisely the reason we feel the urgency to get started today.”
The start-up will focus on epigenetics, which is the study of how your behaviours and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work.
Unlike most genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence.
However, epigenetic changes can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.
Epigenetic drivers of ageing are described as “age-related changes in gene expression that harm the fundamental functions of cells and increase the risk of cancer and other age-related diseases”.
NewLimit wants to reprogram these drivers to reverse this process.
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They said: “Put simply, we want to figure out a way to restore the regenerative potential we all had when we were younger, but somehow lost.”
The founders noted that despite the fact that the early prototypes will likely be expensive, they wanted this treatment to be accessible to all.
They compared it to early versions of cars and mobile phones, saying “the cost of these products were driven down over time, to the point where they are becoming accessible to everyone.
“Some of these products take decades to get to lower costs, but we hope to move much faster than that.”
Mr Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase in 2012, as a way for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to trade bitcoins and other digital currencies.
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