Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging “cured” by stem cells

July 4, 2011

(An elderly couple stroll through Tiergarten central park on a sunny autumn day in Berlin October 29, 2010./Fabrizio Bensch)

If Aubrey de Grey’s predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger. A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to “cure” aging — banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

“I’d say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I’d call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so,” de Grey said in an interview before delivering a lecture at Britain’s Royal Institution academy of science. “And what I mean by decisive is the same sort of medical control that we have over most infectious diseases today.”

De Grey sees a time when people will go to their doctors for regular “maintenance,” which by then will include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, immune stimulation and a range of other advanced medical techniques to keep them in good shape. De Grey lives near Cambridge University where he won his doctorate in 2000 and is chief scientific officer of the non-profit California-based SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Foundation, which he co-founded in 2009.

He describes aging as the lifelong accumulation of various types of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. “The idea is to engage in what you might call preventative geriatrics, where you go in to periodically repair that molecular and cellular damage before it gets to the level of abundance that is pathogenic,” he explained.

“Stem cell therapy is a big part of this. It’s designed to reverse one type of damage, namely the loss of cells when cells die and are not automatically replaced, and it’s already in clinical trials (in humans),” he said.

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6 comments

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An entire world dying to stay young.The life/death cycle allows an infinite variety of life to exist in a world of finite resources.

If we suspend or inhibit the life/death cycle where will we find the extra resources to support an infinite population on a finite world.

Be careful what you wish for a long life in a resource poor decrepit hell, may not be paradise after all.

Posted by GwenStevens | Report as abusive

I am a stem cell scientist and quite excited about the potential of this technology to improve health care including quality and quantity (length) of life. However, I have to say the predictions in this article sound mostly like hype to me.
Paul
http://www.ipscell.com

Posted by enatai | Report as abusive

In the future of health care, insurance companies would surely not cover life extending procedures (much too costly) this would leave the world to be inherited by the super rich and powerful. Those remaining would become indentured slaves to society.

Posted by Leary | Report as abusive

Aubrey de Grey is not an expert in stem cell research, he is not studying stem cell aging. He is not right person to ask how stem cell affected with age and what we can do about it. I’d quote very prominent stem cell researcher Sean Morrison, who studied this issue in details:
“It is not clear whether there is any relationship between stem cell aging and life span”.
All claims “fix stem cell and we can live forever” are very much speculative. More of that, almost all discovered genes, affected in aged stem cells, also involved in carcinogenesis. There is a delicate balance between aging, tissue regeneration and cancer. Nobody know so far how to play around it in delicate manner.

Therefore your title “Scientist sees aging “cured” by stem cells” is very much misleading and can confuse public. Scientists who are working in the field actually never claimed “aging could be cured by stem cells”. I’m studying some aspects of stem cell aging too.

Alexey Bersenev, MD, PhD.
Independent blogger at
http://hematopoiesis.info

Posted by Bersenev | Report as abusive

Why would you have to control the use of resources when you can use capital to control the world and eliminate 90% of the population with a slow kill by feeding them food that will make their great grand children infertile!!!

Posted by kevin21122 | Report as abusive

/ why are these so called comments reviewed this screening it a form af facisim! limiting the pollutes input to create an out put that is approved by you!!

Posted by kevin21122 | Report as abusive