Anti-Aging Technology is Here
Last week, I visited the San Francisco Bay area: the global epicenter of biotechnology innovation.
I stayed near the Buck Institute for Research and Aging, located in Novato, California.
Situated a few miles north of San Francisco, the Buck Institute hosted this year’s SENS Research Foundation Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference.
I enjoyed the speakers’ presentations, as well as the opportunity to mill and chat with researchers working on regenerative medicine and anti-aging science.
Subjects ranged from new discoveries in gerontology, to biotech funding and investment.
But one topic really struck a chord with me: a systematic approach to the problem of aging.
Our bodies are machines that wear out over time. However, if we can engineer a good maintenance program, these biological machines could run properly for much longer — much like a well-maintained car can be made to run far longer than its original design allows.
This might involve removing worn-out parts, such as senescent cells.
It would involve installing new parts, such lab-cultivated stem cells.
Existing cells could be rejuvenated by clearing out accumulated “gunk” in the form of intracellular and extracellular misfolded proteins.
In short, extending a healthy life span isn’t going to be magic. It’s an engineering problem we can tackle and solve.
However, one thing quickly becomes clear: The way we view treating disease needs to change.
Much of our medical technology is designed to treat specific diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These chronic conditions are the result of aging … not the cause.
It makes more sense to attack the cause.
To me, the main issue is one of perception — of something we carry inside our own heads…
We are conditioned to accept aging and all health issues that come with it as unavoidable.
All of our institutions are set up with this in mind. Even our medical regulatory process works this way.
We can trial a drug that reduces cholesterol levels, because reduction in cardiovascular disease is an acceptable endpoint for the FDA… but what about a therapy that rejuvenates the liver by replacing old cells with new ones?
Such a therapy might not show any immediate benefits in a few months, so a trial’s expense would be prohibitive.
Furthermore, aging isn’t really recognized as a disease by our bureaucratic dinosaur overlords.
I remain confident, however, that we will see things change over time. Some of what’s still too early-stage for us to act on today someday will be.
As new therapies spin off into for-profit biotech companies in the near future, there will be actionable ways to profit.
We’ll benefit with longer lives and better health. We’ll also earn outsized returns from the profits these new therapies will create.
And let’s not forget the power of compounding interest. A longer, healthy life means there is more time for those profits to grow.
Believe it or not, this future is nearly here.
To a bright future,