Defining an Xprize for Aging Reversal and Antiaging Developments

Dr. Aubrey de Grey of SENS Research Foundation gave the keynote speech at Ending Age-Related Diseases 2020. Aubrey discussed the current state of the rejuvenation biotechnology industry and how the current pandemic is shifting medical and science priorities. He mentions the failure of Unity Biotechnology’s Phase 2 clinical trial for osteoarthritis, COVID-19 and the elderly immune system, the current popularization of rejuvenation biotechnology and developments to a world without age-related diseases.

There is now funding for the detailed work to define an Aging reversal XPrize focused on rejuvenating the immune system. The detailed definition of an XPrize requires nearly $1 million. Michael Antonov and Sergey Young have provided the funding.

SOURCES- Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, Aubrey De Grey
Written By Brian Wang,

16 thoughts on “Defining an Xprize for Aging Reversal and Antiaging Developments”

  1. Returns on R&D do not keep accelerating. That's the story that society tells us when we are young, but in real life it isn't true.

    It's trueish for electronics. Though with Moore's law grinding to a halt it's an open question as to how long that lasts.

    Whenever people give examples of "ever faster development" they list
    — electronics (as above)
    — computers (electronics)
    — the internet (applied electronics)
    — mobile phone apps (applied electronics)

    Even then, the ever improved packing density on ICs was accompanied by ever greater capital investment in new production facilities. At least part of the slowdown in chip development is that there is not large enough market to justify (eg.) Intel spending another $20 billion or so in a 5 nm chip line.

    Here we are looking at medical technology. And the story of drug development is of ever worse returns on R&D. The current calculated cost of a new drug is a billion dollars per approved product. And rising rapidly.

  2. Fun to think about.

    I'd imagine it as something like a two step process at least. A factory object, at least as big as a roach motel or a shoe-box, might be constructed (and not inside a human body), it would have at least three completely independent "brains" and whenever one votes against the other two, it either gets repaired or the whole thing shuts down. It would also have multiple weaknesses to things like radio signals and such that could shut it down (although not redirect it's activities). The factory objects cannot move, or be moved, and they broadcast their existence and location at all times in order to remain functional.

    This factory device would then build and send out waves of varying types of nanobots (made from a limited initial supply of resources) that would bring back more resources to it for it to refine and build more nanobots, including assembler nanobots. Individual nanobots would be relatively short-lived, with a non-rechargeable battery, maybe, and would be recycled into new ones. The factory object would also use the resources to build into things that the assembler nanobots would then have to assemble into other things, including additional factory objects. The nanobots can't make nanobots, only the factory object can, and neither the factory object nor the nanobots make another factory object alone.

    Depending on circumstances, we might not want the factory objects having access to any power sources that we do not actively provide to them.

  3. The thing is, as the early interventions slow the aging process, the later interventions don't need to be as effective to increase lifespan by more than one year per year, because a year will then amount to less aging.

    Eventually we'll be dealing with tough causes of aging that operate slowly enough that they're not ordinarily an issue. Cosmic ray tracks taking out the cells responsible for long range connectivity within the brain, for instance. Body form gradually being lost due to the cumulative effects of gravity on remodeling bones.

    There are going to be a lot of things that will have to be addressed for really long term longevity, that will probably require smart repair mechanisms based on nanotechnology, or perhaps conscious control over the body.

    Human biology isn't really set up to run forever, it's not just a matter of fixing flaws, it's going to have to be massively redesigned from the bottom up, or supplemented with technology.

  4. Not proven yet, true, but returns on R&D keep accelerating, just like a bank account with compounding interest adds more and more money every year. The internet was huge, before that, it could take years or decades for things useful to other researchers to be found or even become available to them. Cognitive automation and AI will blow the doors off of even that. Kind of illustrative of why there might be something to the technological singularity view of history.

    But, history being what it is, it is easy to see that humans are terrible at prediction. For example, life extension research could easily be OBE as mainstream humanity becomes 1) inorganic, 2) capable of full rejuvenation/regeneration, or 3) dominated by some religion or meme that decides life extension is unnatural and should be banned, or 4) something else.

  5. Now that's interesting: "…to define a longevity-risk-adjusted global (L-RaG) age, the paper calibrates and presents L-RaG values using country data from the Human Mortality Database (HMD). Under this approach, the data indicate that for a male at chronological age 55, the gap in L-RaG ages between high-mortality (e.g. Russia) and low-mortality countries (e.g. Sweden), can be as high as 20 years: a 55-year-old Swedish male has an L-RaG age of 48, whereas a 55-year-old Russian male is closer in L-RaG age to 67. Stated differently, using the language of risk-adjusted benchmarks, your true age depends on where you live…"

  6. After that, continued development of life extension technologies will begin enabling estimated lifespan to increase by more than one year per year.

    Assumption not proven. This is likely to not be true as early lifespan improving tech will be picking the low hanging fruit.

  7. A mass inoculation campaign using sexbots?

    I have to admit, at that point, you would know that you've truly reached a brighter future. What was once a source of disease becomes a source of health. Instead of relying on needles we'd rely on fun, and our human instincts would be our allies again.

    It makes complete philosophical and ethical sense. Do I get to keep the nurse? Uh… in case updates are released?

  8. I doubt it. They will DRM the hell out of it and make sure you can't pass it to others.

    And possibly the way they are made will help ensure that, by making them unable to replicate outside of the place they are made (which is good).

  9. The biological singularity is coming.

    That would be the point at which life extension technologies enable estimated lifespan to increase by one year per year (regardless of current age).

    Of course, that is just a moment in time. After that, continued development of life extension technologies will begin enabling estimated lifespan to increase by more than one year per year. Which just means that estimated lifespan becomes an outdated expression.

    That's still not rejuvenation. Real rejuvenation could take someone back to the biological age of twenty, and keep them there. At which point there would be much less need to provide complete solutions to all of the issues of gerontology.

    Still, the main thing is to make it to the biological singularity. Sure wish I knew when that was going to be. Aubrey de Grey used to toss around 2045 as his prediction but I'm not sure he still is.


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