Aubrey de Gray, an English biomedical gerontologist, argues that people can live for 1000 years. He wrote a plan for how to overcome biological aging.
De Gray first published a study stating “an indefinite postponement of aging ... maybe within our lifetime” as early as 2002. For 15 years, his reputation among gerontologists - scientists studying aging - has changed from one of the ridiculous to one of the most influential and respected.
In 2009, the 53-year-old scientist founded the SENS non-profit foundation and attracted millions, receiving support from several billionaires and entrepreneurs, including Peter Thiel, Jason Hope and Michael Greve.
Below, he discusses his theories, problems, and why he does not practice life extension himself.Magazine
: What were the main successes in SENS and why programs for life extension have not yet become popular?de Gray
: Over the past two years, we have a lot of unique publications in such journals as Science, Nature Communications and Nucleic Acids Research, in which we report on key achievements against the most intractable problems of aging. It would not be an exaggeration to say that, at least in a few cases, we broke through the barricades that had delayed key areas for more than 15 years.
You may argue that eight years is a lot of time for the first steps, but you are mistaken - the first step is always more difficult, and therefore almost all studies, whether in academic circles or in industry, are aimed at short-term close successes, and not on risky prospective studies, very important for long-term progress. We exist as an independent foundation for this very reason. But, saying this, I must also emphasize that we have already achieved great success in investing our programs. The atherosclerosis project was the first of five companies that have emerged from our endeavors at the moment — they encompass such diverse changes as macular degeneration, senescent cells, amyloids in the heart, and organ transplantation.Journal
: What are the key treatment methods that will allow a person to live 1000 years or more?de Gray
: It is extremely important to understand, and yet it is overlooked that my prediction of such large lives of living people consists of two phases. The first phase is based on the treatment methods that are already being developed in the SENS Foundation, along with parallel initiatives that show good progress, so that we no longer need to deal with them; mainly various stem cell therapies. Various types of repair or repair damage - disposal of waste, prevention of mutations, restoration of elasticity. They combine to restore molecular, cellular structure and the body of a middle-aged person (or older) and, consequently, his young function (both mental and physical).
But this is only the first stage, and I always emphasize that I do not expect more than 30 years of extra life from it. This is a lot compared to what we can do today, but these are not four numbers. My prediction of four digits comes from the second phase, which appears due to an important fact, because the first phase gives us time. If you are 60 years old and you get therapy that will make you biologically 30th, you will again be biologically 60th by the time you are chronologically 90. Of course, the therapy will no longer work, because the damage that did You biologically the 60th again, by definition, represents a deeper damage that therapy does not correct. But this is already 30 years old, and this is an insanely long time in any technology, including medical. So, when you are 90 years old, you will have access not only to the same treatment methods that were 30 years ago, but also to improved ones, which can repair a whole bunch of damage. So they will work. They still will not be 100 percent perfect, but they do not need. They just need to be good enough to “re-rejuvenate” you, so that you do not have biologically 60 for the third time, until it is chronologically 150 or so. And so on.
Now I fully admit that I do not know what the second-generation therapies will be and later. But this is not a reason to believe that we do not implement them on time.Magazine
: More importantly to reduce aging: therapies, medications, or lifestyle changes?de Gray
: I’m all for optimizing lifestyle, but you formulated your question as a comparison, and undoubtedly the answer is that lifestyle can only slightly change the difference - a year or two - how long we stay healthy and thus long we live The drugs and procedures that we have now are equally ineffective - and that is why people die today just a little older than their parents. But in the next couple of decades we have, I believe, a very good chance to completely change this scenario.Magazine
: What are you doing personally to prolong your life?de Gray
: I’m actually a bad example of life extension - however, for good reason. In particular, I sleep very little, because I spend my life traveling around the world, teaching the people of this mission. At the end of the day, I do not burn to increase my chances of rejuvenation. What gets me out of bed in the morning is much more important: knowing that every day, bringing us closer to healing aging, saves 100,000 lives.Journal
: If we had increased the lifespan of adults by 100 years, would we have to implement the global policy of one child to avoid overcrowding?de Gray
: This and many other problems associated with solving the problem of aging today have one thing in common: they are based on the implicit assumption that a world without aging in all respects will be very similar to today's world. Example: the only reason we may have to reduce birth rates if we want to reduce mortality is if we do not increase the capacity of our planet. But we seem to be developing very well in the field of renewable energy, artificial meat, desalination and other things. Is it plausible that in the coming decades the population will grow faster than the increase in productivity? Of course not.Journal
: Does anyone test your therapy in public?de Gray
: Of course, but only some of them. Uncomplicated SENS therapies are already in clinical trials, such as stem cells for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Others, including those from the SENS Research Foundation's research, may well be in them in a year or two. But some need another 10-15 years. They are just as important as the simpler ones, so we make every effort to speed them up, but we are very limited by lack of finance.