Aging is not an option; it happens to everyone, and just as everyone must face the inevitability of growing old, everyone hopes that somewhere there really is a Fountain of Youth, or at least some kind of magic elixir that will make us young again. For many years, preventing or delaying the aging process has been the object of extensive scientific study, and now a turning point in research on the quest for immortality may have an answer within our reach.
Dr. Mikhail Blagosklonny is a Russian scientist, researcher, professor, and philanthropist who has done extensive research on cancer and aging. Dr. Blagoslonny earned degrees in internal medicine(M.D.) and external medicine and cardiology(Ph.D) from the First Pavlov State Medical University at St. Petersburg. He taught oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and he is the Editor-in Chief of Oncotarget, one of the most prestigious journals in oncology and cancer research.
Dr. Blagosklonny’s fame, however, comes from his passionate advocacy of Rapamycin as a miracle drug, not just for the treatment of cancer but also as a weapon in the fight against aging. Rapamycin also called sirolimus was isolated for the first time in 1972. A bacterium produced in the soil on Easter Island, it was first used as an anti-fungal agent. Immunosuppressive and antiproliferative properties in Rapamycin ultimately caused physicians to abandon that use of the drug, but because it suppresses the immune system, it has been used with much success in the prevention of rejection after an organ transplant.
While researching cancer treatments in the early 2000’s, Dr. Blagosklonny’s findings suggested that the qualities of Rapamycin that made it so effective at slowing the growth of tumors might also reduce the aging process. So convinced was he of Rapamycin’s potential and safety, he tried it on himself. The conclusive results of his self-study was that it had ” fewer side effects than taking an aspirin.”
Much of Dr. Blagosklonny’s research was done with test on aging mice. His results proved that the use of Rapamycin resulted in a heightened ability of the mice to deal with tuberculosis. Test that were made on people showed an immunological rejuvenation in elderly patients when Rapamycin was administered before a flu shot. Even though there is no conclusive evidence that Rapamycin increases longevity, Dr. Blagosklonny believes that the drug can do just that. Scientist are now planning to test the drug on marmoset monkeys.
Mikhail Blagosklonny, an inspiration to his peers, continues in his search for a cure for cancer. He hopes to find a way to eliminate cancerous cells without destroying the normal cells that are so important to the restoration of the mind and body after prolong treatments. He believes that cancer can be treated in a simple and cost effective way that will be available to and beneficial to everyone.
The founder, President and the CEO of Seattle Genetics Clay Siegall, has been appointed as an outside director in one of the largest biotechnology company, Mirna Therapeutics that specializes in developing and commercializing MicroRNA therapeutics.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Mirna Therapeutics Paul Lammers, everyone at the company is excited about having Siegall as part of their distinguished board of directors. Siegall has more than enough experience in the pharmaceutical industry. His success in building an oncology company will be invaluable to Mirna’s team and will guide the company to its advancement in the development of MicroRNA-based therapeutics.
Micro-RNA therapeutics is an extensive cancer research field that’s expected to position the company as a strong pipeline of product candidates. Given the company’s early involvement in miRNA field, the arrival of Siegall will propel the working of the team to advance its favorable programs for patients already in needs.
Clay Siegall established Seattle Genetics immediately after graduating from the George Washington University and the University of Maryland, where he studied Genetics and Zoology respectively in 1998. Under his leadership, the company created a diverse pipeline of antibody-based therapies that addressed immediate medical needs of cancer patients. Seattle Genetics launched its first commercial product designated ADCETRIS in 2011.
After operating for a few years, the company engaged in a few strategic partnerships with several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on oncology. Among these companies include Bayer and Progenics, Genentech, CuraGen, and Medlmmune. The company raised capital through private and public financings and in 2012, Clay Siegall secured over $675 million, including its initial public offering in 2012.
Apart from Seattle Genetics, Clay Siegall has founded a couple of other research institutes including National Cancer Institute, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute and the National Institute of Health between 1991 and 1998.
Presently, he is a member of the board of directors at Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, the Chairman of the Alder BioPharmaceuticals, and a member of the board of governors of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute.