Craig Venter takes on human ageing

2014-03-04 21:12
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

La Jolla - Craig Venter, the US scientist who raced the US government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.

Venter has teamed up with stem cell pioneer Dr Robert Hariri and X Prize Foundation founder Dr Peter Diamandis to form Human Longevity, a company that will use both genomics and stem cell therapies to find treatments that allow aging adults to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible.

"We're hoping to make numerous new discoveries in preventive medicine. We think this will have a huge impact on changing the cost of medicine," Venter said on a conference call announcing his latest venture.

The San Diego-based start-up company has $70m in private backing and has already purchased two ultrafast HiSeq X Ten gene sequencing systems from Illumina, a leading manufacturer of DNA sequencing machines, with the option to buy three more.

The company will use that technology to map 40 000 human genomes in a push to build the world's largest database of human genetic variation. The database will include sequences from the very young through the very old, both diseased and healthy.

"This will be one of the largest data studies in the history of science and medicine," Venter told the conference call.

In addition to gathering whole genome data, the company will collect genetic data on the trillions of microbes - including bacteria, viruses and fungi - living in and on humans.

By better understanding the microbiomes in the gut, in the mouth, on the skin and other sites on the body, the company said it hopes to develop better probiotics as well as better diagnostics and drugs to improve health and wellness.

Along with the microbiome data, Human Longevity or HLI will collect data on the metabolome - the various metabolites, biochemicals and fats in the body - in order to get a better picture of the circulating chemicals that contribute to health and affect how drugs work.

Age-releated diseases

The company's initial treatment targets will be some of the toughest age-releated diseases: cancer, diabetes and obesity, heart and liver diseases, and dementia.

Venter said the company will start first with cancer. It has teamed up with the Moores Cancer Centre at the University of California, San Diego, with the goal of sequencing the genomes of everyone who comes there for treatment, as well as doing a full genome sequence on their tumours.

"Cancer is one of the most actionable areas right now with genomic-based therapies," Venter said, adding that cancer is "just the first of a multitude of diseases we will be sequencing this year."

In addition to UCSD, the company has established strategic collaborations with privately held Metabolon of North Carolina, a company that focuses on biochemical profiling, as well as his own J Craig Venter Institute, a non-profit genomics research institute.

Venter said the first round of funding should last about 18 months. Initial backers include KT Lim, chief executive of Malaysian multinational Genting, and Illumina.

Read more on:    craig venter  |  us  |  health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.