It’s not everyday you see Apple assist Google in launching a new business. But that’s exactly what happened last September when Google announced “CaLiCo” (the California Life Company). Whilst CaLiCo’s overall mission is to tackle illnesses and diseases associated with aging, the by-product would be that the average length of a human life could be extended overall. Some scientists believe using emerging technology (bio, neuro, nano etc) we could extend life by 70-100 years, and maybe many more.
There is plenty of reading available on the subject of Transhumanism, and interesting books like ‘The Last Mortal Generation‘ by Damien Broderick which hypothesize the rule book on the human life span is being rewritten and that there is already someone alive today who will live past 150 years. The reality of life extension as a technology is that it is probably much closer than most would think. I personally know a few people* involved in different trials aimed at life extension, and each have different techniques and goals including the lengthening of telomeres or reducing IGF-1 levels. Behind closed doors I have heard several interesting accounts of new synthetic human growth hormones working very well in the labs. Back down to earth, calorie controlled diets are well documented in extending the life of mice and most scientists believe the same applies to people. The scientific evidence is also supported anecdotally by stories such as 101 year old marathon runner The Turbaned Tornado and the French Paradox.
Whilst the average consumer can pick up potential life-extending substances like resveratrol from their local chemist or indulging in the five and two diet which could reduce IGF-1 levels, the future looks interesting with more companies investing into this industry.
So which companies are working in the Gerontology space?
- Methuselah Foundation: https://mfoundation.org/ (supported by PayPal’s Peter Theil)
- Larry Ellison’s http://www.ellisonfoundation.org/
- CaLiCo (Google): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calico_(company)
- Antoxis : http://www.antoxis.com/
- BioTime: http://www.biotimeinc.com/
- Geron : http://www.geron.com/
- Legendary http://www.legendarypharma.com/ (ughh they need a new website!)
- HaGr: http://genomics.senescence.info/ (this is a resource)
Finally let’s not forget Glaxo-SmithKline who after a 720m aquisition of anti-aging (and much hyped) science company Sirtris, closed it down in March last year. Maybe they are sitting tightly on the fountain of youth. Maybe society could not cope if we all lived to 150. Maybe it just doesn’t work… yet. Watch this space.
The final thought I’ll leave you with is from Steven Hawking because if all else fails, you still might be able to upload your brain to gain immortality… something Google too seems to be quite interested in.
* Note: I hope to persuade some of these people to share some results in a future post.