Saving lives with stem cells and, soon, the world's first oral flu vaccine

It was my surprise encounter with the stealthy, destructive ageism beast that got me going with The Big Middle more than a year ago. My story is here on my website. Exposing and battling ageism remains a key focus of this podcast. But it is fully free-range now. The longevity revolution is upon us and demands urgent, all-areas attention. We’re not only living relatively healthier for longer – an extra 10 years or more than our grandparents – we’re ageing differently, expecting more, insisting society register that and get in sync, adapt the life course to suit our new normal instead of shoving us aside in our new prime – our 50s, 60s, 70s.

Science is pushing ahead, making impressive strides in preventative and regenerative medicine to achieve parity in healthspan and lifespan. That parity is at the heart of a sweeping strategy unveiled in the UK by a cross-party group of politicians, scientists, academics and public health experts and advocates – the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity. For details, have a listen to the episode with Tina Woods, the APPG for Longevity’s co-leader. As their head of communications, I get to meet and interview so many game-changing pioneers in healthy longevity.

If you’re not among those pioneers on the science side, I guarantee your mind will be blown by the transformational work with stemcells and vaccines being done by Wayne Channon – a physicist, tech and life sciences entrepreneur I interviewed for the APPG for Longevity a few months ago. He’s the chairman of Cells4Life – the UK’s largest cord blood bank – Stabilitech Biopharma and a number of other biotech companies. He’s a strategic advisor on the APPG’s science and business boards and a corporate sponsor of the group.

Off-mic, as we chatted about bringing our earlier interview to The Big Middle, I asked Wayne how he feels about his work.

“For the first time in medical history Susan, ​stem cells are allowing doctors to actually repair or regenerate new tissues. In the past, medical science just tried to keep you alive until your body could self-heal, if indeed it could. I have run bigger companies but none more rewarding than Cells4Life – we are actually saving lives.”​

As COVID-19 tightens its grip on the world at large, have a read of a blog Wayne wrote on the Cells4Life website. He explores whether umbilical cord stem cells could be the answer to stopping this infectious coronavirus, saving lives.

More thought food from legends of the longevity space in the weeks to come: Biochemistry Prof Dr Lynne Cox, a specialist in the molecular basis of ageing at the University of Oxford, Dr Nir Barzilai, Director of the Institute for Aging Research, Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and discoverer of the first ‘longevity gene’ in humans, and Dr Linda Fried, Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a leader in the fields of epidemiology and geriatric medicine.


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