10/21/11 - can we live forever?

In today's  excerpt - some researchers believe we will soon be able to reverse the process of aging:

"An energetic and insightful advocate of stopping the aging process by changing the information processes underlying biology is Aubrey de Grey, a scientist in the department of genetics at Cambridge Univer­sity. De Grey uses the metaphor of maintaining a house. How long does a house last? The answer obviously depends on how well you take care of it. If you do nothing, the roof will spring a leak before long, water and the elements will invade, and eventually the house will disintegrate. But if you proactively take care of the structure, repair all damage, confront all dangers, and rebuild or renovate parts from time to time using new materials and technologies, the life of the house can essentially be extended without limit.

"The same holds true for our bodies and brains. The only difference is that, while we fully understand the methods underlying the maintenance of a house, we do not yet fully understand all of the biological principles of life. But with our rapidly increasing comprehension of the biochemical processes and path­ways of biology, we are quickly gaining that knowledge. We are beginning to understand aging, not as a single inexorable progression but as a group of related processes. Strategies are emerging for fully reversing each of these aging progressions, using different combinations of biotechnology techniques.

"De Grey describes his goal as 'engineered negligible senescence'—stopping the body and brain from becoming more frail and disease-prone as it grows older. As he explains, 'All the core knowledge needed to develop engineered negligible senescence is already in our possession—it mainly just needs to be pieced together.' De Grey believes we'll demonstrate 'robustly rejuvenated' mice— mice that are functionally younger than before being treated and with the life extension to prove it—within ten years, and he points out that this achievement will have a dramatic effect on public opinion. Demonstrating that we can reverse the aging process in an animal that shares 99 percent of our genes will profoundly challenge the common wisdom that aging and death are inevitable. Once robust rejuvenation is confirmed in an animal, there will be enormous competitive pressure to translate these results into human therapies, which should appear five to ten years later."


Ray Kurzweil


The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology


Penguin Press


Copyright 2005 by Ray Kurzweil


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