By Samantha Yardley

 

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey’s pioneering work in the field of biology has received worldwide notoriety for his staggering claims that medical advances will enable humans to effectively cheat death by curing age-related health conditions.

 

“The first person to live to 1000 is probably already alive,” begins Aubrey. “That’s not a ‘theory’ in the scientific sense. It arises from my assessment of the difficulty of developing the various technologies that would be required to keep such a person alive (and healthy, in case you were wondering) and how soon they would need to be developed.

 “Broadly, it falls into two parts: the achievement of a couple of decades of extension of lifespan by rejuvenation (i.e., damage repair) technologies, and the maintenance of a certain rate of progress thereafter to repair the body progressively better as the repair becomes more difficult.”

 The scientist’s conclusions on the potential to extend life span far beyond the realms of what we once considered possible are becoming more widely accepted amongst his peers, who are now

beginning to support his views that we will soon be able to control the aging process to live into the hundreds, if not thousands.

 “Back in 2000, I realized that the best way to tackle aging with medicine was to subdivide it into a manageable number of categories of self-inflicted damage (the deadly things) and figure out ways to repair each one. That was quite heretical at the time, but it’s broadly accepted now.”

 Aubrey’s ‘deadly things’ refers to the complex processes of intra and intercellular waste, mitochondrial and nucleus mutations, stem cell loss, and an increase in intercellular protein links and senescent cells. Which is basically a deep dive into the way our cells communicate, mutate and produce waste. By tackling the diminishing age-related effectiveness and problems that can occur with each cellular process, we then have the potential to apply medical advances like stem cell therapy and the introduction of certain enzymes to counteract each defect in order to effectively hack the aging process.

 But, if people begin living into their thousands, what ramifications could all this have on the world’s population?

 “This is a far less problematic issue than most people think. First, the overpopulation problem we have today is one of too much pollution, not one of insufficient space, and that’s being solved already by carbon capture and such like. Second, when people live longer, they choose to slow down their procreation – we see that across the whole world already.”

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