A San Diego-based startup called Samumed believe they can treat many aspects of aging without surgery, and they aren’t alone. To date, investors have contributed $300-million in funding to the fledgling company.
If they’re able to deliver, both the owners of Samumed and their investors will make more money than they know what do with, but the CEO of the company doesn’t seem to care about that as much. He’s more interested in the science.
The company is well aware of the comparisons to Theranos, the failed $9-billion startup that made similar promises. They went under when an expose by the Wall Street Journal questioned their data.
The other comparison one could draw is BioViva, the Washington biotech company led by Liz Parrish. That group is also pursuing the same target demographic, folks who want to stay young.
It’s what Ponce DeLeon once hoped to find by navigating the shores of Florida, but these researchers are navigating different ships in a much harder territory. They’re searching the microscopic shores of the human experience, hoping to unlock secret cures to aging, treating it like an illness.
We can’t help but root for their success all while suspicious of fraud, the heartache of betrayal is too great.
In the human body, specialized stem cells called progenitors repair and replenish some of our organs. Over time, the body stops telling these stem cells to do their jobs. When they stop replenishing, the body starts to decay.
Osman Kibar, Samumed’s CEO, intends to reverse those signals from the body, so the progenitors don’t stop doing their jobs. They believe that they can even reverse aging using their technique, the details of which they’re guarding for the time being.
Kibar intends to build his reputation on Samumed’s results, then release the “how we did it” story when the time is right. That would be after they’ve passed the FDA hurdles and you can’t steal their intellectual property.
To prove their concept, the Samumed team tested their theories on patients suffering from age-related hair loss. Using a test group of 300 men, ages 18-55, testing a topical treatment they call SM04554, they saw a 10% increase in hair growth over 135 days in one of the non-placebo groups.
Interestingly, there were two non-placebo groups in that test, one receiving a .15% dose and one receiving a .25% dose. The group receiving the smaller dose did better.
Both non-placebo groups saw regrowth, though. Further research, biopsying the follicles of the patients showed that the two non-placebo groups had greater hair follicle growth as if they’d reversed the aging process.
Future phases will pursue FDA approval, but will also establish credibility for the Samumed method. They will have a corner on the fountain of youth, at least as far as aesthetics goes.
Of the Samumed method, the truly impressive work is their tissue regeneration program. That one is further along than SM04554 treatment, but they are less willing to talk about the work behind that one.
In trails, the Samumed team has been trying to regenerate knee tissue on patients who suffer from osteoarthritis. Until now, nobody has been able to regrow tissue. Their success could change the lives of 30 millions Americans suffering from osteoarthritis.
Beyond the tissue regeneration program, Samumed has seven drugs, which are in-vivo human trials for treating different diseases and conditions. One of them is the time-honored accumulation of wrinkles.
That’s right, they are trying to end wrinkles, because what’s the point of living longer if we can’t be beautiful?
My money, which is nowhere near $300-million is all stacked on skepticism. The probability is we are going to see more failures than successes in the anti-aging market until we don’t see them anymore.
That will be the moment someone has found DeLeon’s fountain, but history has shown us over and over that it doesn’t exist. If is does, and if Samumed is onto it, then the transhumanist movement is about to get a lot more youthful.Source: Business Insider