Human life expectancy may see a hockey stick growth curve in the coming years as a result of leaps made in fields such as molecular nanotechnology, gene therapy, robotics, and regenerative medicine.
Seizing the potential for radical longevity, an effort dubbed the "Manhattan Beach Project", is a focused and targeted “all-out assault on the world’s biggest killer- aging," according to its founder David Kekich, President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation.
Sculpture of Methuselah, a 969 year-old man mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Credit: www.answersingenesis.org)
The project was spawned during an international scientific conference nine years ago in Manhattan Beach, California (hence the namesake that only in ambition is similar to the Manhattan Project).
It consists of a group of researchers and entrepreneurs that have for years been collaborating on a scientific road-map to intervene in the human aging process and are disclosing their plan “to start saving up to 100,000 lives lost to aging every day, by 2029.”
In November '09, Kekich organized a Longevity Summit that brought together a number of leading scientists, visionaries, and experts on human aging and longevity for a discussion on the state-of-the-art research and the implications of their discoveries. Their goal is to develop a scientific and business strategy to make human life extension a real possibility within the next two decades. Here’s a video of Kekich explaining the project.
Hosted by the Maximum Life Foundation and sponsored by the Life Extension Foundation, also a non-profit organization dedicated to longevity research, the summit opened with futurist Ray Kurzweil, who explained, “We are very close to the tipping point in human longevity. We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.”
Over the next three days, experts presented their latest research at a series of conference sessions. As H+ (The Manhattan Beach Project to End Aging by 2029 ) and Reason.com (The Methuslelah Manifesto) report, below are conference highlights:
- Biochemist Stephen Spindler at University of California, Riverside, reported on his research on calorie restriction. Spindler is currently screening a variety of compounds, including pharmaceuticals, to see if they mimic the effects of calorie restriction in mice. He presented early results that show that some compounds to seem to increase mouse life spans.
- Michael Rose, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who’s work is built on the premise that natural selection is the cause of aging, explained how using artificial selection for longevity has produced fruit flies that live four times longer than normal, the human equivalent of being healthy at age 300.
- William Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences, talked about his company’s project to identify compounds that lengthen telomeres, which have been shown to have an effect in controlling aging in cells and thus control aging in us.
- Biologist Michael West discussed the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells). IPS cells can be transformed into other types of cells, which can be used to repair damage or rejuvenate tissues and organs.
As these researchers and others begin to understand the actual causes of aging, they now believe they are on the way to figuring out how to stop, and eventually reverse it. While there's still a long way to go, it doesn't stop skeptics from viewing the ambitious goal of reversing aging in humans by 2029 as quixotic.
The journey, however, may prove bountiful enough. The project's site, claims that during the process, "Emerging companies should develop several powerful anti-aging products and services aimed at the commercial market for human treatment or consumption. That means, we should be able to gradually improve the human condition between now and then."
And as the human condition improves, so will the bank accounts of those who invest in those companies:
"The emerging longevity sector is expected to exceed one trillion dollars. It will spawn a whole new breed of billionaires who will get rich by extending our lives."
If you're going to be forever young, you'll need the money to live that way.