Re-activating Youth Boosting Genes to Reverse Human Aging By 2030

As you get older, key genes that maintain life are no longer activated. George Church is focused on turning youth-boosting genes back on.

His company, Rejuvenate Bio, has begun clinical trials in old dogs. This will help us determine which ages of humans would best benefit. George believes they will be able to help people who are already quite old and show signs of decline. They are looking at extending absolute lifespan. Extending human lifespan will take years to get reliable results.

They have published results on three genes. Those genes already helped reverse osteoarthritis, high-fat obesity and diabetes, heart damage, and kidney disease. They will soon add cancer and neurodegenerative diseases to the list of reversible conditions.

They are using artificial intelligence to design the precisely targeted gene therapy delivery systems. They will make cells younger with dose of youth-promoting genes and then the cells repair factories can restore lots of damage from aging.

Even if only some cells are made youthful, they will increase youthful hormone production and amplify the gene therapy’s initial effect.

This will trigger a reinforcing cycle of increased youth.

SOURCE- Life Extension Magazine Interview with George Church
Written By Brian Wang,

56 thoughts on “Re-activating Youth Boosting Genes to Reverse Human Aging By 2030”

  1. 'Even the CNS would require that detailed control over geometry, because the long range connectivity of the brain is established by cells that eventually get killed, and can't naturally be replaced.'

    Dear Brett / NewtonPulsifier and co (Jared, Dan, David, AAA, GG etc.); as a long time follower of NBF commenters like yourselves, I have a massive amount of respect for your knowledge and wisdom.

    I'm currently re-trawling the NBF back catalogue for articles about medical advances with a view to helping a new client that I support with a diagnosis of MND/ALS. They are coming up to the 6th anniversary of diagnosis.

    I'd be immensely grateful if you would be willing to contact me / point me towards specific resources relevant to this particular condition and also connect me with other NBF geniuses who may be able to offer help and guidance.

    Replies to

    Please no time wasters or spam; have respect that this is a serious matter.

    Sincerely, gratefully and with kindest regards

  2. Yep. Since I started reading sci-fi when I was still in grade school, I've continuously come back to the thought that future generations will look back at us and marvel at how much we got done, despite having children and dying of old age while we, ourselves, were still children.

    Personally, I'd like to be looking back with them. With a bit of luck, my generation might be the last to watch their parents die of old age. Otherwise, it will likely be my kids generation. I know which of those two alternatives I prefer.

  3. Well im very excited to know how much will cost and when is going to be on the market!Please let me know it as soon as it comes for sale!Im waiting!Thank you!

  4. Funny. Just watched Logan's Run from the 70s. The grand glory of the over-30s 'glorious culling ceremony' – to maintain the grand balance.

  5. It feels weird because of historical precedence. Humans thought fire was something special, till it wasn't. Bacteria, magnets, radiation, other galaxies.

    Fast forward a cosmic hour. The set of "optimized" genetic instructions that code for the body that humans depend on as life support for their brains, is faulty (for the sake of being free to die when you wish), but as it turns out it is NO DIFFERENT from every other thing that humans sooner or later end up partially/entirely reverse engineering.

    What remains is the platonic obstacle. Just like politics and religion. In many ways much less straightforward than engineering.

  6. What you say about the biological damage is true, but bear in mind that the relation between telomeres shortening and its role against cancer is extremely well documented and indeed the vast majority of late stage tumors have mutations that reactivate telomerase since it grants a survival advantage. Bust postmortem of old people that did not die of tumors often finds small tumors that did not evolve to late stages because the mutations in the telomerase regulation did not occur. if you are interested I strongly suggest "telomeres" by cold spring harbor laboratory press

  7. It’s so you don’t compete with your offspring, an immortal great great grandparent would frustrate any sort of evolution.
    That’s probably one of the reasons bats and birds are so long lived. They can move 1000 miles away from their offspring.

  8. ". . . seeing what pans out."

    Not being a scientist in a biological discipline, I can only believe or not believe, based on what I learn from multiple sources, at least some of which seem trustworthy in this context (fortunately, this isn't religion).

    Seeing it pan out successfully would be one of those assurances I would need to believe in it sufficiently to invest my time and treasure in, as well as accepting any potential pain. This would be in addition to accepting any associated risk which, while it might be low, can never be zero (I could even be hit by a car on my way to the clinic).

  9. I don't see anything at that link that indicates anything got funded. The description I see on Kimer Med's Our Work page is that they are pre-seed, which I believe means no funding. They are just trying to get started. Better than nothing, I suppose, but not much better.

  10. Well, the thing I was hinting at is the reconstruction of an individual, who had undergone rapid deconstruction and very few body parts remained… As what happened in the aforementioned movie.

  11. Church must be stopped on one front, he has a half baked idea to solve AGW by making ocean bacteria immune to all the bacteriophages in the same medium. It would work, perhaps too well, but the real problem will be a lot of bacteria species with the machinery to evade phages. Bacteria are well known to be a bit profligate with their innards.

    That idea gives me the chills, forget grey goo, here comes green goo.

  12. I am willing to believe

    You dont need to believe, just wait and see what pans out.

    Upping your attendance at covid parties couldn't hurt.
    Face masks = tyranny
    Ron Paul 2012

  13. Reading the comments has been 10x more informative than the actual article. Kudos to Brett, Jared, Dan, David, AAA, Newton, et al. Keep it coming gentlemen!

  14. The hypothesis that aging, especially in the form of telomere shortening (reaching the Hayflick Limit) is a defense against a condition that would be no different than cancer is on shaky ground these days. That is because they lengthened telemeres and got a reduction in cancer rather than an increase. And it turns out these senescent cells are truly dreadful things that even consume other healthy cells.
    In humans, the role of aging is probably to remove permanently damaged organisms for the sake of the group. We accumulate damage that we can't fix. In the wild, bones are unlikely to set properly, joint damage is often permanent, our cells and intercellular environment collect damage, and eyes and ears begin to work poorly. Consider that over 40 you become unable to focus closely if you are otherwise 20/20. This is not due to telomers. This is from damaged proteins. Also in the wild, teeth wear out. We only get 1 adult set of teeth. These might sound like easily addressable things to us, but they were not for most of human existence. Tooth abscess? Death!
    For humans, knowledge is valuable, so we are one of the more long-lived land mammals, but limited to the time these things fail regardless of that utility or telomeres.
    If our eyes and ears did not fail, our teeth got replacements, and our joints, skin and bones healed beautifully, and severed limbs grew back, I have no doubt our lifespans would be much longer today. Our biology abandons us because that is not the case.

  15. The funding was laughable. SENS foundation got a few millions per year. Even now, some SENS areas are underfunded (mitoSENS etc.) We get what we pay for.

  16. I have pretty good chances to make it to 2030. Decent to 2040 , normal to 2050. Making it to 2080 … only if the stuff starts arriving in 2030s… Or just being extremely lucky supercentarian.

  17. Birds and bats live 5x longer than they “should”. And the difference so far seems to be vastly more “clean” burning mitochondria.
    So there seems to be a 5x life and health span increase available as “low hanging fruit” by re-engineering the mitochondria.

  18. When the product of poor parenting is a poorly adjusted person who will be with your society forever, it does sort of sharpen the mind on what to do about it. And it becomes easier to tell someone they can't reproduce if the prohibition isn't forever.

    As in, you can get your parenting license once you've pulled yourself together and gotten an education, stabilized your finances, and gotten the okay from your therapist. If you told that to people today, then for half the populace the bar would be so high that they'd die before reaching it, and you'd be accused of genocide etc. The need for people to perpetuate through reproduction outweighs the need to protect/provide for children. But if people aren't dying, they can always reproduce tomorrow, and the argument for protecting the unborn would gain weight.

    Of course, over time, the bar might rise further still. Now you need a doctorate in childhood education, three psychologically healthy co-caretakers and a verified child-safe community environment, etc. But there's still always tomorrow, and some people would continue to actually reach that bar. It would be achievable as a dream. But many would just keep putting it off, because why not, there's always tomorrow.

  19. You know what would be a great cancer prevention method? A thymus that doesn't degrade. It would reduce autoimmunity too.

    And senescent cells secrete factors which enhance cancer formation in surrounding tissues. Sure, they evolved for a reason, but they're not particularly fine tuned.

  20. I have done a bit of small scale experiments with anti-senescents; Large dose periodic Quercetin. I noticed several problematic spots on the back of my hand become inflamed the first time, and then heal back better looking. So there is that.

    It takes a while to accumulate a dangerous amount of senescent cells, I don't think clearing them implies the need for a permanently high metabolism. But it would have to be done in stages, that's for sure. I don't think you'd want to be taking them continually.

  21. Apologies for being too pedantic then…
    The loss of functionality in senescent cells is quite debated and very heterogeneous: you can have terminal melanoma cells that still express melanin, so in a way they are still doing their anatomic function even when they are completely parasitic for the organism, Endocrine Pancreatic tumors do the same (but I concede that are very rare).
    Church approach is to get rid of a lot of stuff that might not work, but this WILL lead to a lot of stress on the organism. What could come close to that idea (but not quite) is to onset a permanent pubescent metabolism (because that is the only phase in our lives when we build a significant amount of mass of our bodies) that might require a couple of order of magnitude more energy to be maintained (lets set to one order of magnitude).
    I personally think this is not achievable with some small engineering trick at cellular level: you need to completely redesign and rebuild the body around that metabolism (for example humming birds go into hibernation every night as they have to stop eating for so long that otherwise they will starve).

  22. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just allow cars to be sold without seat belts?

    No joke, if you are concerned about anti-aging causing population problems, just become less obsessive about safety culture, and the problem will solve itself.

  23. I understand the concern that rehabilitating senescent cells by providing them with functioning mitochondria might transform them into cancer cells. But, generally, cancer cells themselves have dysfunctional mitochondria; It's one of the ways they immortalize themselves, by defeating the intrinsic apoptosis system.

    It's quite possible that restoring mitochondria function, instead of transforming senescent cells into cancer cells, would cause cancer cells to suicide!

  24. But, quite often, a cell has just become non-functional due to mitochondrial problems, and the rest of the cellular machinery is just fine.

    The problem is that the mitochondria have their own DNA, which is under direct exposure to the free radicals generated by oxidative metabolism. They represent a replicating population within the cell, and usually are cleared away as they become damaged.

    But occasionally you'll get a mutant mitochondrion that ceases oxidative metabolism; It stops generating energy, and becomes a net consumer!

    This gives the mutant mitochondria less energy with which to reproduce, but also they are damaged less by their own metabolism, and so less subject to cellular clearance. Under the right conditions this gives the mutants a selective advantage, and they displace the functional mitochondria. The cell is now has too little energy available to perform normal functions.

    This can be a particular problem in muscle tissue, where instead of one cell being disabled, whole muscle fibers lose functionality, due to being interconnected in such a way that the mutants can spread.

    Part of the problem here is that the intrinsic apoptosis system actually utilizes the mitochondria. Mutant mitochondria can defeat it!

    Replace the mutants with regular mitochondria, and best case, the cell resumes normal function. If this is impossible, you've at least reenabled the apotosis system, and the cell will commit suicide.

  25. I actually was aware of all that. (Human biology was one of my college majors.) But it doesn't really contradict my point.

    You're talking about "replicative senescence", that the cell line has stopped dividing. I'm talking about "functional senescence", where the cells have stopped performing their function in the tissue.

    Normally when a cell becomes damaged enough that it can't perform it's intended role, it commits suicide, so that it can be replaced. But some non-functional cells evade this suicide mechanism, and enter a state where they continue living, but fail to perform their function, and secrete damaging compounds.

    THOSE are the "senescent" cells that need to be removed for life extension purposes. Unless, of course, some way to rehabilitate them could be found.

  26. Regarding the mitochondria: as cells do age they accumulate damage in form of mutations in the DNA and in chemical alterations of the other cellular components. As telomeres erosion is a 'measure' of the rounds of replication mitochondria integrity is a measure of the cellular metabolism. Mutations in the DNA and mitochondria alterations do occur and accumulate as the cells age, but the organism exploits them to monitor cellular fitness. As cells age their machinery becomes less efficient and needs more energy but mitochondria are ageing too so they are also less efficient, the cells needs more of them and alters their morphology. Normally there is a tipping point and a runaway collapse that trigger apoptosis. But even when this does not occur, in general, it is still ok because, even if the old cell is wasteful, it consumes more energy (and produces more toxins) to continually repair the tissue getting both rid of the inefficient cells and producing new ones at a sustained rate (which means that they will have a higher damage baseline). 'Renewing' mitochondria will just provide cells a nice mechanism to avoid detection if something really goes wrong (especially in tumors) and plenty of energy to go wrong.

  27. Hi Brett, this is a common misconception.
    Most of the cells in the human body (and in all the vertebrates for that matter) are postmitotic and uncapable of dividing. Tissue rigeneration occur through periodic stem cell activation and division:
    1) the stem cell has the sole job of mutuating itself linearly (not exponentially) so it undergoes asymmetric division generating another stem cell (which is one generation older) and a tissue precursor
    2) tissue precursor has the intermediate job of amplifying the cell population without and produce good quality tissue so it undergoes only few rounds of replication and differentiation. In total the tissue precursors do a dozen of division (but depends on the tissue)
    3) the cells generated by the precursor fully differentiate and STOP and will never replicate again. At this point these cells are maintained because their job is a metabolic/functional job. They do not really care about the damage (unless they are infected).
    so from one stem cell dividing once you end up with 10000-20000 cells so the non dividing cells in your body are 99.999% (this is approx the real figure for a high proliferative tissue as the skin (see shneider et al PNAS 2003), Of course cells break and die all the time and the body gets rid of them, but the vast majority of your body is built around non cycling/differentiated/senescent cells

  28. Considering that the notion of such "nurture" or "environmental" changes even being possible was hotly disputed into the 90s, things are changing!

  29. Hi, Nature evolved mechanisms to prevent/delay cancer onset after reproductive age+ some buffer due to parental care time. Different animals age at different rates because have different metabolic level. A hummingbird and a great whale are both vertebrates, but the whale is living "very slowly" reducing the metabolic stress. However in general animal in nature do not live to their full biological potential because they succumb to predators (or out-competition by their peers if they have no natural predators). In most animals nature evolved active mechanisms of senescence (especially in long lived animals) to promote higher genetic diversity (elephants for example stop growing teeth so the alpha males at a certain point start actively to starve and leave space to younger animals). Experiments on telomerase reactivation and cellular immortalization have consistently demonstrated that senescence is a cancer prevention mechanism.

  30. I'd imagine if a cost effective, easily distributed anti-aging remedy were ever developed, forced sterilization could become the norm for those over a certain age and other undesirables.

  31. Dan Lantz, You make the correct and critical distinction re:gene expression. Stanford demonstrated significant functional improvement via an RNA cocktail to "iron out the wrinkles" in the epigenetic expression in muscle/skeletal cells in mice whereby wound healing and muscle energetics were restored to a youthful state. They started a company called Turn Bio and have exclusive rights to the Stanford patents. Oisin Bio has a system that targets senescent cells based on their internal protein status that marks them as senescent. Thus Oisin can selectively kill senescent cells (and cancer cells) while leaving other cells alone. In combination these interventions make a powerful one-two punch toward reversing aging.

    Full disclosure: These are both Methuselah Foundation/Fund supported companies.

  32. While remaining . . . cautious, rather than skeptical, I am willing to believe, given the assurances I will require. The timeframe is right in line with what I've been expecting it to be for the past couple of decades,

    it just feels weird to finally be within the same decade as something like this. Keep in mind that this would only be a step (albeit a big step) on the way to wherever we wind up.

    The questions being (after demonstrated efficaciousness): when, where, how, how much, and will health insurance cover it?

    Answer most of those right and I'll be waving a credit card at George.

  33. Some anti-aging is likely to be fairly straightforward: Replacing mutant mitochondria with healthy ones, for instance. Getting rid of senescent cells. Implanting cloned, modified cells that have been 3D printed into a replacement thymus.

    Other anti-aging interventions will require detailed control over geometry, of the sort that would require them to be done under software control. Nanotech cell herding, for instance.

    Probably the most straightforward approach would be to concentrate on "un-aging" the CNS, and replace everything else by transplant into an anencephalic clone.

    Even the CNS would require that detailed control over geometry, because the long range connectivity of the brain is established by cells that eventually get killed, and can't naturally be replaced.

    But if we can just slow the deterioration a lot, and reverse metabolic changes, it might buy some of us time to develop those more complex interventions.

  34. There’s clearly some relationship between aging mechanisms and cancer, but it’s also very clear that “aging is the mechanism by which nature prevents/delays cancer” isn’t true. If it was, different species wouldn’t age at very different rates. Rather aging seems to be a consequence of the lack of selection pressure to keep individual organisms alive past an age where they contribute to genes reproductive success.

  35. "Dr. Church: We’re talking about epigenetics, changing how
    genes work throughout the body. It’s not about changing
    the code of your genes, just how they’re expressed [turned
    on or off]. As you get older, the level of key genes that help maintain
    life decline in how much they’re turned on. You want to boost them back up.
    So what we’re tinkering with using gene therapy isn’t “genetic.” We’re not changing the genes, but rather focusing on turning youth-boosting
    genes back on." Please note that Janov has been reporting beneficial epigenetic changes in adults as they resolve repression of childhood, esp birth, trauma in Primal Therapy. For fifty years. From before "epigenetics" was understood. These changes will clearly enhance lifespan. Interested?

  36. I am skeptical of 'undoing' ageing (at least in the short- to mid-), as it appears that, simply put, there are mechanisms that deteriorate with time(1), despite intervention; mechanisms that get used up (ie. thymus) with time(2), despite intervention; and get damaged through just 'living'(3). Even sustained youthfulness may overcome (1) with regular intervention – but (2) and (3) – that's like your car rusting out in humid, salty conditions – what would the daily investment be in maintaining and chasing down all that corrosion? I believe that today's organisms tend to death rather than life, but that modifications and replacements can eventually (even soon) extend life, even health, even full healthy functioning, beyond current systems and environments — but the human body with its human mind and sensory apparatus is fundamentally a terminal mechanism with a fundamental repair system way, way below its current service environment. Full on augmentation and upgrade will be required – let's just hope that the mind can be maintained and allowed to constantly learn through the likely many repair cycles for its fragile organic container. That being said, i look forward to Church's contribution to making aging a less miserable and deteriorating experience as there is a lot of opportunity for lengthened quality of life.

  37. To be clear, a lot of the reason we accumulate senescent cells is that these are cells that have stopped functioning properly, but have defeated apoptosis mechanisms. The normal functioning of the body would have removed them, but for that. As I understand it, part of the apoptosis system is routed through the mitochondria, and dysfunctional mitochondria are typical of senescent cells. But there are doubtless other ways apoptosis can be defeated.

    So, if you could clear them out, it IS a big gain, so long as you didn't do it too suddenly. It's less a matter of the body keeping them around, as of not being able to get rid of them.

  38. The cancer-prevention mechanism is not unique to humans, surely. I believe I've seen mention of studies showing life-span prolongation in mice with gene manipulation. That would argue that, in mammals, there is the potential for life prolongation that outweighs any increased cancer risk.

  39. Just to clarify a couple of things:
    Senescence is the mechanism by which damaged but still functioning cells are kept in the body, but cannot replicate and regenerate the tissues. This is because proliferation of damaged cells leads (inevitably) to early cancer development which is negatively selected by evolution.
    On the other hand the organism cannot just substitute all the damaged cells with brand new ones because 1) the metabolic stress in the end will cause more damage, leading again to arrested cells. 2) even the proliferative potential of stem cells is kept limited to avoid the onset of tumors and inflammatory diseases.
    Ageing is the mechanism by which nature prevents/delays cancer and George Church knows it and still makes misleading claims.
    To me is quite surprising that the PNAS paper this post refers to has no analysis on the possible increase of tumor incidence.
    Don't get me wrong, the paper is peer reviewed and good, but sometimes what is not in the paper is as relevant as what is there.
    For the one interested I suggest the book "Telomeres" by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory press. It is a technical book, quite old (from 2006), but gives an in-depth analysis of ageing, cancer and DNA damage, and once you read it you can use it as an index to follow the development of the field (check how the line of investigation evolved since then).

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