The first person to reach150 years old has already been born, and that within a generation, the 1,000 year life-span could become a reality.
Aubrey de Grey, chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to researching human longevity, is a biomedical gerontologist, who claims that the first person to reach150 years old has already been born, and that within a generation, the 1,000 year life-span could become a reality.
He asserts that within his own lifetime, medicine will have advanced enough to put a stop to aging at will, as well as eliminating diseases almost completely, views expressed before a lecture he gave at the Royal Institution academy of science, in the UK.
He believes that trips to doctors in future will be for regular maintenance only, like the servicing we subject our cars to, except that in the case of the human machines, the medical servicing might involve immune system re-charging, gene therapies, stem cell therapies and other advanced medical techniques.
Living close by Cambridge University his doctorate obtained there in 2000, Dr Grey sees aging as molecular and cellular damage, occuring throughout the body, through the course of a lifetime, so that all that would beneeded to keep the body in top condition would be periodic repairs being carried out before the damage could get too serious..
Life expectancy currently increases, data reveals, by around three months each year, currently, a clear trend obvious, and estimates putting the likely number of 100 yeasr olds on Earth in 2030 at around the one million mark, something unthinkable only a century ago.
Longest-living human on earth to date reached a staggering 122, though more recent research has it that the global obesity epidemic could curtail the longer living trend, as third-world nations begin to get fatter. De Grey insists that his primary goal is the elimination of disease, preventing sickness brought on by age alone.
He says that damage caused by aging can be divided into seven main categories, each of which needs seperate repair techniques development, if continual maintenance is to become a definite reality. For some categories, most of the work still needs doing, but in others the systems are already in place.
A big part of the whole picture will be stem cell therapy, designed to reverse the loss of cells. When cells die and are not automatically replaced, this causes some aging, clinical trials in humans are already taking place, on a therapy addressing this issue, currently involving people with spinal cord injuries.
One day, such therapies may be developed that find ways of repairing damaged brains and hearts, and since cardiovascular diseases are the world's biggest age-related killers, this research may well be pivotal. Many heart diseases are caused by accumulation of byproducts of metabolic processes, our bodies not able to break down or excrete these thing
Working with US colleagues DeGrey is hoping to identify those enzymes in other species which break down such byproducts, before t devising genetic therapies to transfer this capability to human bodies, saying that if this could be done for say, Cholesterol, cardio-vascular disease could be made a thing of the past..
This scientist is, quite properly, unwilling to commit to firm predictions about future human longevity, though he believes that by 2050, vastly longer life-spans will be more than possible, medicine making exponentially greater advances with each passing year.
He does, however, say that each major advance in longevity buys scientists more time, and that limits imposed by how long ago you were born should be non-existent within his own lifetime. The whole point of maintaining something, he claims, is to keep it working indefinitely, and the human body should be seen for the biological machine that it is, capable of unending operation, if properly maintained, but who wants to live forever?