Like something straight from a science fiction movie plot, animal studies seem to show that there are no theoretical barriers to our ability to regenerate ourselves. Once the stuff of legends, an impossible fantasy, the fountain of youth may be about to transition from myth to reality – the question is not when, but how it will be done and (most importantly) whether incredible longevity medicines and technologies will have a net benefit to the world or create more problems than they are worth.
(Image via: Wired)
In fact, while David Sinclair focuses a 21st Century revolution akin to antibiotics the results could be even more radical – picture a world where age-related diseases like diabetes, dementia and even cancer could be reversible or curable, our bodies able to heal themselves by tapping into our DNA as they did when we were first growing. This is not just about extending lives, then, but about improving quality of life and ending the hotly-debated question of whether it is worth staying alive when so many diseases take over so close to death.
(Image via: Wikipedia)
Diseases are thought to “originate in damage caused to our mitochondria by free oxygen radicals. These are an inevitable byproduct of turning chemical energy into our body’s fuel, but corrode mitochondrial DNA, eventually causing organs and systems to malfunction and shut down. Fix the mitochondria, say scientists, and the rest of you won’t break down. What’s offered isn’t a protraction of physical decrepitude, but a slowing of the biological clock.” (Wired)
(Image via: Nelson Dewey)
The legendary fountain of youth is known as a rare prize, something a single individual or small group might find, covet and keep secret from the rest of the world. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this modern development, then, is the fact that all major pharmaceutical are dumping major money into research, to the tune of hundreds of millions or more. In short: when the resulting miracle drug hits the market it might cost just a few dollars due to the fierce competition.