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Philanthropist Paul F. Glenn launches labs for aging research at Harvard Medical School

calorie restricted diets.

In a 2004 study published in the journal Science, Sinclair's group found that a key longevity gene called SIRT1 is switched on in rats that are subjected to calorie restriction, which then increased the lifespan of the rat's cells. In an interesting twist, the research team used the blood of these long-lived rats to grow human cells in the culture dish, and the human cells also lived longer, suggesting that the blood might have contained a life-giving molecule that could one day be given to people.

Although there has been much interest in the SIRT1 gene, humans actually possess seven SIRT genes, known as SIRT1-7. It is suspected that many, if not all, of these genes control aspects of the aging process. Sinclair's group is testing whether these genes can forestall the aging process and increase the heathspan of mice. He has also identified a master controller of the SIRT genes, which he calls PNC1 in yeast and is called PBEF in mammals. Experiments to test whether mice that overproduce PBEF live longer, as his yeast cells did, are in progress.

Mr. Glenn's interest in biology of aging began as a teenager, as he observed the decline in health and death of his grandparents. While a senior at Princeton in 1951, he met Dr. Thomas Gardner, a research scientist at pharmaceutical company, Hoffman-LaRoche, who explained that aging is a complex set of biochemical processes which can be understood only at the molecular level, and that the tools of molecular biology were just beginning to be developed.

In 1965 Mr. Glenn founded the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research with a mission to extend the healthy productive human lifespan through research on the biological mechanisms of aging. This mission has been served through direct sponsorship of research grants and awards programs and through important relationships with other institutions focused on understanding the molecular biology of aging and mechanisms that gov
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Contact: John Lacey
public_affairs@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0442
Harvard Medical School
11-Mar-2005


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