TEDMED: Curing Alzheimer's, cancer regrets and Frank Gehry on aging
October 28th, 2010
07:38 PM ET

TEDMED: Curing Alzheimer's, cancer regrets and Frank Gehry on aging

Thursday’s morning session TEDMED focused on aging, as architects Frank Gehry and Moshe Safdie, musician Quincy Jones and TEDMED founder Richard Saul Wurman swapped stories about the indignities and consolations of growing old. Gehry said he suffers the occasional memory lapse, but that it doesn’t hinder his design process. “The way I work, sometimes it’s better if you forget what you did before.”

Afterwards, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund laid out an ambitious goal of finding a cure for the illness by the year 2020. Tanzi and venture capitalist Henry McCance, who helped found the fund in 2004, described the partnership that led to the identification of new genes that seem to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, genes that are potential targets for new drug therapies.

In the late morning session, the recently departed deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Anna Barker, said the war on cancer has fizzled, describing her former agency as an unwieldy bureaucracy that's overseen only incremental advances. “I didn’t feel so much frustration as I felt were lost opportunities in the cancer institute,” Barker told CNN afterwards. “The cancer institute overall is constrained by a lot of infrastructure that has built up over these many years. There are entitlement programs, just like there are entitlement programs in any government program. It’s very difficult to move money around, to do different things and to do innovative things.”

Also at TEDMED, Aubrey de Grey and Dr. Anthony Atala announced a joint project to investigate methods that could lead to a way to reverse aging, by regenerating damaged tissue in the body. The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where Atala is based, has grown at least 22 types of cells in the laboratory, including skin tissue to treat burn victims. DeGrey’s SENS Foundation seeks ways to reverse or even stop the aging process. He predicts that in the near future, humans will be able to live an extra 30 to 40 years before they’re slowed by age-related disability.

TEDMED is an annual event that brings together dozens of luminaries from a variety of fields to "demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and health care related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital." TEDMED 2010 is taking take place from October 26 to 29 in San Diego, California.

soundoff (4 Responses)
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    October 29, 2010 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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