Within 5 years, the world could widely accept that we are within striking distance of a post-aging world. This could be with the achievement of mice that would normally die at the age of three getting life extension at the age of two and living beyond 5 years. It might be after that with the similar treatments to reverse aging in dogs. It could be with the first age reversal treatments in humans that make people look significantly younger but also restore muscle and other body functions.
Investors would then accelerate any funding needed to complete several very promising anti-aging treatments which are currently being worked upon.
They are performing aging reversal trials on dog this year and next year. Human trials would be in 2019-2022 and about 2025 before they are done.
They have a pipeline of more than 60 different gene therapies, which they tested on old mice, alone and in combinations. The Harvard group now plans to publish a scientific report on a technique that extends rodents’ lives by modifying two genes to act on four major diseases of aging: heart and kidney failure, obesity, and diabetes. According to Church, the results are pretty eye-popping.
How soon will we see results of medical regeneration revolution?
Michael D. West, Ph.D., CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, discusses the medical regeneration revolution by looking back at how advances in recombinant DNA and monoclonal antibodies helped usher in new products that improved the quality of human life after decades of research. Dr. West also addresses pluripotent stem cells and how unlocking their potential will spur the next big medical revolution: regenerative medicine.
West indicates that the technologies that make up regenerative medicine have already been under development for 20 years. The technologies are already maturing.
A Post aging world will be good
Michael D. West, Ph.D. and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, and Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Vice President of New Technology Discovery for AgeX, discuss the societal impact of a post-aging world and how society currently views efforts to extend human longevity.
HIV mostly under control but HIV testing and treatments are not universal
Let us imagine that the promising anti-aging and aging reversal treatments live up to their promise and are developed over the next 10-20 years. What might this look like? The developments with HIV treatments could be instructive.
Consider the relatively recent success with HIV treatments. There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016.
An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016 – about 5,000 new infections per day.
Approximately 70% of people living with HIV globally were aware of their HIV status in 2016. The remaining 30% (over 11 million people) still need access to HIV testing services.
As of June 2017, 20.9 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally, up from 15.8 million in June 2015, 7.5 million in 2010, and less than one million in 2000.
1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016, bringing the total number of people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic to 35.0 million.
It took about 15 years to get to 50% of the target population treated with HIV treatments.
Successful treatments for aging could see similar rollouts.
Aging is the cause of 2 out of 3 deaths. There are about 157,000 deaths every day. 105,000 deaths are aging-related. If aging reversal added 80 years of longevity, then 10 years after the successful development of anti-aging treatment, perhaps 10,000 deaths per day could be delayed many decades. In 20 years perhaps 40,000 deaths per day could be delayed. Over those 20 years, there would be many more healthy people and 100 million total deaths would have been avoided. If it took 10 years to develop the treatments from today, then by 2050 the population would be 100 million higher. It would be 9.9 billion instead of 9.8 billion. People who are 80-110 would be as healthy and active and productive as people who are 50-80 today.
In the 10 years after that another 250 million lives are saved that would have died from aging. The world population is 10.5 billion instead of 10.15 billion.
Then another 2 billion lives are saved from 2060-2100. The world population is 15.2 billion instead of 12.7 billion. People who are 80-170 would be as healthy and active as people who are 35-60 today.
Aubrey de Grey discusses restoring embyronic regeneration in organisms
Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Vice President of New Technology Discovery for AgeX Therapeutics, discusses how primitive organisms have better regenerative capacity than more complicated organisms such as humans. In humans, Dr. de Grey notes, our best regenerative abilities are at the embryonic stage. During the Embryonic Fetal Transition, out ability to regenerate plummets and continues to diminish as we age. Dr. de Grey discusses the role evolution plays in this and how scientists may be able to “revive” our regenerative power.
Evolution chose to turn off most of the regeneration capabilities at the embryonic stage. Evolution has good reasons for making this choice but evolution has different goals than we do. Evolution does not care about individual longevity. Evolution only cares about the longevity of genetic information. It is okay for evolution if the genetic information is handed off to the next generation through reproduction.
Evolution has different tools. Evolution can make smaller changes with sperm and eggs. We can make larger changes with the new genetic engineering tools.
Telomerase and regeneration could be used to create virtual immortality in humans
Michael D. West, Ph.D. and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, discusses why humans age. Dr. West notes that somatic cells primarily make up the human body and that those cells have a finite ability to replicate. As each cell divides, the DNA (or genetic blueprint for the cell) has to be copied. Each time this happens, the telomere at the end of each DNA strand is shortened. The telomere shortening acts as a clocking mechanism that causes cells in the body to have a finite lifespan which, in turns, causes humans to have a finite lifespan. This differs, Dr. West says, from our reproductive lineage cells which are passed on from generation to generation. These cells include telemorase (which is an immortalizing enzyme). Dr. West and other scientists are looking at how telomerase can be turned on in other cells in the body so that they too can be immortal. The goal being to not only extend human life, but to extend healthy human life.