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Space Medicine Expert and Oxford Visiting Professor in Ageing Research join Ex-MPs $101 Million XPrize Biohacking team developing “Royal Jelly” for human beings.

Space Medicine Expert Dr Rawan Al Shammari has joined the “Biohacking to improve everyone’s health” XPrize healthspan team headed up by John Hemming who was previously a Member of Parliament, in the UK. Oxford Visiting Professor Dr Richard Siow has also joined the team as the academic advisor.

XPrize healthspan is a USD $ 101 Million contest organised by the XPrize foundation as a global contest to see which teams can improve human health by the equivalent of 10-20 years in the three areas of cognition, frailty and immune system.

John Hemming is an erstwhile Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament who has successfully run a number of businesses and who has created the “Biohacking to improve everyone’s health” team as part of the XPrize.

Dr Rawan Al Shammari is a medical doctor who specialises in Space Medicine. She has been appointed as the medical advisor to the team. Dr Siow has also joined the team as the academic advisor.

The team is working to develop a protocol which improves gene expression in human beings in a similar manner to that which Royal Jelly turns worker bees into queen bees.

John Hemming, who won a Scholarship to study Physics at Magdalen College Oxford, before he graduated and created his first business said, “Royal Jelly causes cells in bees to produce more proteins. This is done by a mixture of increasing the acetylation of the histone and slowing down the deacetylation of the histone. This makes a worker bee much more healthy and creates the phenotype of the Queen Bee. We are trying to do the same for human beings to improve cognition, frailty and the immune system in older people. That is the target to win the Xprize.”

“People may wonder what the link is between space medicine and aging. It is very simple, when people go to space they suffer damage quite similar to accelerating aging. Therefore, if we are aiming to reduce the damage caused by age we need to use similar techniques to those which will work to improve health in space”.

Dr Al Shammari said “If Human Beings wish to establish a base on Mars we will need not only to work out what causes people to age in space, but also to ensure that human reproduction can continue to work once people leave the planet. That involves solving similar biological problems to aging.”

Richard Siow is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford and Director, Ageing Research at King’s (ARK) and Group Leader in the School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine & Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, has agreed to be the academic advisor to the team.

Dr Siow said, “I am pleased to have been appointed as the academic advisor to John Hemming’s team. The ageing and longevity research field has not yet considered the importance of acetylation in epigenetic regulation of genes. However, I believe it is not only the histones where acetylation matters, but also for proteins such as NRF2, a master-regulator of cellular antioxidants to reduce senescence and enhance longevity-related pathways.”

The XPrize was launched in late 2023 and continues until 2030. The first team to create a therapy that improves cognition, frailty and immune systems by the equivalent of 10-20 years worth of aging will win the prize. Currently the organisers are working on the details of the tests to be used.


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