The SENS Foundations, a leading U.S. organization in researching the aging process and related diseases, has announced that AZ entrepreneur Jason Hope recently donated $500,000 to be used for research into atherosclerosis. This represents a major contribution to the fight against the lethal disease and will significantly boost the organization’s research budget for atherosclerotic diseases.
The silent serial killer
Mr. Hope has long been interested in the effects of aging and the possibilities that exist to retard or even stop them with sufficient knowledge of the underlying processes. He targeted his donation specifically to the study of atherosclerosis due to the increasing recognition among medical professionals that the underlying process is largely responsible for many of the worst effects of aging.
In its essence, atherosclerosis is a process of tissue damage followed by inflammation and repair. This is much the same series of events that takes place when someone cuts their hand. In the case of atherosclerosis, however, the damage is caused by phospholipids and other substances flowing through the bloodstream. These substances create tiny imperfections in the walls of the blood vessels by adhering to them and interrupting blood flow. The body then detects these imperfections, treats them as an injury and sends in agents that cover them up and, later, form scar tissue.
This fibrinotic scar tissue then creates caps over the lipids and other substances which have caused an imperfection in the vessel wall. Since this process occurs over and over, eventually these fibrontic caps can grow to the point where they occlude the blood flowing through the vessel. If this occurs in the heart, the patient will begin experiencing symptoms of angina, arrhythmias or even sudden cardiac death. If it happens in the extremities, it can lead to claudication or, in serious cases, tissue death in the limbs, leading to amputation. In the brain, it can cause stroke or cerebral hemorrhage.
But despite all of these direct effects, it is widely hypothesized that the underlying process of damage, inflammation and repair is itself responsible for many other diseases of aging. With his contribution, Jason Hope has made a clear statement that he believes, with good reason, that 21st century medicine won’t be so much a discipline of treating diseases but of preventing them from ever occurring.
More information about Jason Hope, click here.