We have a “respectable chance” in the foreseeable future of using the “rejuvenation alternative” to reach a point where someone’s age will not determined their health, according longevity expert Dr Aubrey De Grey.
The chief science officer at the SENS Research Foundation – a non-profit which funds scientific rejuvenation therapies – argues the way to increase human longevity is not to attack the pathologies of old age but rather to use a “common-sense maintenance approach”.
The biomedical gerontologist claims “the problem is that we’ve been trying to go after the health problems of old age with geriatric medicine all this time.”
“We’ve got to be more preventative,” he says.
“The maintenance approach says basically let’s actually let metabolism generate damage at the rate that it naturally does so, but then step in every so often and repair some of that damage, just eliminate it from the body, so that even though it is being generated it does not reach this pathogenic level of abundance,” he explains.
“Unlike pathology, this approach does make sense.”
De Grey has classified all the “damage” associated with ageing into seven categories.
This means, he says, we can describe a corresponding generic intervention that implements the common-sense maintenance approach.
He offers cell loss as an example of how his classification and associated maintenance approach works to tackle “damage” associated with age.
According to De Grey, as cells are lost and not replaced with ageing, the “obvious fix is stem cell therapy… to replace the cells the body is not replacing on its own.”
He continues to outline how through this “rejuvenation alternative” we are going to see “quite a big increase in longevity”.
De Grey was speaking at the second in a three-part series entitled ‘Debating Ageing: A Transdisciplinary Engagement Forum.
Also taking part in the lecture were Professor Emma Teeling, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, and Professor Liam Delaney, UCD School of Economics.
The ‘Debating Ageing’ series is jointly presented by The UCD Humanities Institute, the UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, the UCD Conway Institute, the UCD Institute for Discovery, the UCD Geary Institute, and the UCD HRB Ignite Connect Programme.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is the biomedical gerontologist who researched the idea for and founded SENS Research Foundation. He received his BA in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000, respectively.
He is Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.