Unraveling the deep biology of cell rejuvenation to reverse disease

Science

Unraveling the deep biology of cell rejuvenation to reverse disease

Our journey

Fundamental biology

Cells in healthy, resilient states resist stressors that give rise to disease, but this diminishes with aging. Early experiments have shown that this ability to resist stressors can be restored.

What are the fundamentals of this biology? Which parts can be harnessed to help more people live free from disease or disability? Our work is to pursue answers to these questions and more, and to develop applications for what we discover, with the goal of reversing disease.

What we find could change the way we think about medicine.

Discovery

The genesis of Altos

Our mission stems from compelling science. In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka, professor and the director emeritus of Center for iPS Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, and his coauthors showed that differentiated cells, of any age, can be reprogrammed to erase two epigenetic properties: cell identity and age. His discovery was a breakthrough for biological research, enabling the creation of induced pluripotent (non-embryonic) stem cells and revealing an even more interesting possibility.

Evolution

The founding science

Altos Founding Scientist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte built on Yamanaka’s findings in 2016 by showing that cells could be “partially” reprogrammed. Instead of reverting all the way back to stem cells, Belmonte and his colleagues found that cells can be “partially” reprogrammed to a state that is more resilient to stressors while retaining both their identity and the enhanced functions seen in young cells.

"We now have pre-clinical data suggesting that the cellular dysfunction associated with ageing and disease can be reversible. This knowledge means that it may, one day, be possible to transform patients' lives by reversing disease, injury and the disabilities that can occur throughout life."

HAL BARRON, CEO

Science at Altos

Emilie Aghajani standing outside speaking with a colleague

"I have incredible colleagues at Altos who are willing and enthusiastic to teach and mentor me. Thanks to them, I have been able to break into new fields of bioengineering and take on independent projects that I did not previously have a strong background in."

Emilie Aghajani

"The projects at Altos are trying to solve large problems that affect the global population. Altos cares for its employees and implements a lot of structure to enable employees to thrive inside and outside of the company."

Garret Bishop