The Washington Post is running an article on Methuselah Foundation chair Aubrey de Grey, the work of the Foundation. the book Ending Aging, and SENS research. Take a look:
Aging consists of seven critical kinds of damage, according to de Grey. For example, unwholesome goo accumulates in our cells. Our bodies have not evolved means quickly to clean up “intracellular aggregates such as lipofuscin.” However, outside our bodies, microorganisms have eagerly and rapidly evolved to turn this toxic waste into compost. (De Grey made this connection because he knew two things: Lipofuscin is fluorescent and graveyards don’t glow in the dark.)
By taking soil samples from an ancient mass grave, de Grey’s colleagues in short order found the bacteria that digest lipofuscin as easily as enzymes in our stomachs digest a steak. The trick now is getting those lipofuscin-digesting enzymes into our bodies. That has not yet been done. But, de Grey says, comparable fundamental biotechnology is already in clinical use fighting diseases such as Tay-Sachs. So he sees it as merely an engineering problem.
Examples like this make up the 262 pages at the center of “Ending Aging.”
“It’s a repair and maintenance approach to extending the functional life span of a human body,” de Grey says. “It’s just like maintaining the functional life span of a classic car, or a house. We know – because people do it – that there is no limit to how long you can do that. Once you have a sufficiently comprehensive panel of interventions to get rid of damage and maintain these things, then, they can last indefinitely. The only reason we don’t see that in the human body now is that the panel of interventions we have available to us today is not sufficiently comprehensive.”