The Search For Life Extension – Part I

If you plan to have children in the near future, your newborn girl or boy will see much more of the future you might think, far beyond the year 2100! And your grand-grandchildren will probably enjoy the beauty of our planet at least until the year 2300 and why not forever.

Countries like Japan, Switzerland or Spain already have an average life expectancy of 84 years. But it’s very likely that the average lifespan of the next generations will be substantially extended to about 140 years.

The driving force behind this potentially radical development of mankind are biogerontologists and genetic scientists devoted to achieve a longer & healthier life for humans.

Ageing is, simply and clearly, the accumulation of damage in the body. Ageing is a disease and it could be cured.” says Aubrey de Grey, chief scientist officer at SENS Foundation – a view generally shared among life extension researchers and enthusiasts.

Other bodies working in the area include the Methuselah Foundation, which reckons that “by 2030, 90-year-olds can be as healthy as 50-year-olds are today”; Human Longevity Inc, co-founded by genetics pioneer Craig Venter; and Calico (California Life Company), launched by Google in 2013, and already given more than 1,5 billion USD of funding to achieve an even more ambitious goal than life extension: immortality and eternal life!

Beside longevity, a second focus lies on a healthier life through extended medical research, collaborations and product developments to fight age related diseases.. Calico is constantly making collaborations with laboratories like AncestryDNA or Jackson Laboratories. And it’s partnership with pharma giant AbbVie is intended to develop and market new drugs that target diseases associated with ageing.

Significant progress is made every year in the field of genetics and medicine with new highly efficient drugs. But what about the people who not only need drugs, but organ transplants? Only in USA there are over 120’000 people awaiting life saving transplants.
In these cases, bioprinted or lab-grown replacement organs produced by companies like Organovo, or Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine will be the key for further progress of a longer and healthier life.

A longer and healthier life is on the horizon and when it comes it will bring along a radical change in the timeline of everyone’s life: 

– People stay physically ‘young’ until they reach 100 years.

– Women will therefore be able to give birth until they’re 100.

– Last, but not least: A longer ‘lifespan’ will also transform into a much longer ‘workspan’. You might enjoy your pension not before you reach an age of 115 to 120. 

About this perspective, I’m pretty sure, the life extension enthusiasts and the economically/ecologically-driven realists will collide sooner or later. The reason behind this and a scenario what could happen in a society if the average lifespan extends to 140 years, follows in Part II.

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