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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529

 Scientists: People may live to be 150-1000 yrs old

*It is interesting that scientists are predicting that, due to advances in science, people born 20 years from now may live to be 1000 yrs old. Methuselah, anyone? Of course, I doubt that this world will be around for this. - Chris

Scientist sees aging cured
by Kate Kelland
July 4, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) – If Aubrey de Grey's predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger.

A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to "cure" aging -- banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

"I'd say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," de Grey said in an interview before delivering a lecture at Britain's Royal Institution academy of science.

"And what I mean by decisive is the same sort of medical control that we have over most infectious diseases today."

De Grey sees a time when people will go to their doctors for regular "maintenance," which by then will include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, immune stimulation and a range of other advanced medical techniques to keep them in good shape.

De Grey lives near Cambridge University where he won his doctorate in 2000 and is chief scientific officer of the non-profit California-based SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Foundation, which he co-founded in 2009.

He describes aging as the lifelong accumulation of various types of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body.

"The idea is to engage in what you might call preventative geriatrics, where you go in to periodically repair that molecular and cellular damage before it gets to the level of abundance that is pathogenic," he explained.


Exactly how far and how fast life expectancy will increase in the future is a subject of some debate, but the trend is clear. An average of three months is being added to life expectancy every year at the moment and experts estimate there could be a million centenarians across the world by 2030.

To date, the world's longest-living person on record lived to 122 and in Japan alone there were more than 44,000 centenarians in 2010.

Some researchers say, however, that the trend toward longer lifespan may falter due to an epidemic of obesity now spilling over from rich nations into the developing world.

De Grey's ideas may seem far-fetched, but $20,000 offered in 2005 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review journal for any molecular biologist who showed that de Grey's SENS theory was "so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate" was never won.

The judges on that panel were prompted into action by an angry put-down of de Grey from a group of nine leading scientists who dismissed his work as "pseudo science."

They concluded that this label was not fair, arguing instead that SENS "exists in a middle ground of yet-to-be-tested ideas that some people may find intriguing but which others are free to doubt."


For some, the prospect of living for hundreds of years is not particularly attractive, either, as it conjures up an image of generations of sick, weak old people and societies increasingly less able to cope.

But de Grey says that's not what he's working for. Keeping the killer diseases of old age at bay is the primary focus.

"This is absolutely not a matter of keeping people alive in a bad state of health," he told Reuters. "This is about preventing people from getting sick as a result of old age. The particular therapies that we are working on will only deliver long life as a side effect of delivering better health."

De Grey divides the damage caused by aging into seven main categories for which repair techniques need to be developed if his prediction for continual maintenance is to come true.

He notes that while for some categories, the science is still in its earliest stages, there are others where it's already almost there.

"Stem cell therapy is a big part of this. It's designed to reverse one type of damage, namely the loss of cells when cells die and are not automatically replaced, and it's already in clinical trials (in humans)," he said.

Stem cell therapies are currently being trialed in people with spinal cord injuries, and de Grey and others say they may one day be used to find ways to repair disease-damaged brains and hearts.


Cardiovascular diseases are the world's biggest age-related killers and de Grey says there is a long way to go on these though researchers have figured out the path to follow.

Heart diseases that cause heart failure, heart attacks and strokes are brought about by the accumulation of certain types of what de Grey calls "molecular garbage" -- byproducts of the body's metabolic processes -- which our bodies are not able to break down or excrete.

"The garbage accumulates inside the cell, and eventually it gets in the way of the cell's workings," he said.

De Grey is working with colleagues in the United States to identify enzymes in other species that can break down the garbage and clean out the cells -- and the aim then is to devise genetic therapies to give this capability to humans.

"If we could do that in the case of certain modified forms of cholesterol which accumulate in cells of the artery wall, then we simply would not get cardiovascular disease," he said.

De Grey is reluctant to make firm predictions about how long people will be able to live in future, but he does say that with each major advance in longevity, scientists will buy more time to make yet more scientific progress.

In his view, this means that the first person who will live to 1,000 is likely to be born less than 20 years after the first person to reach 150.

"I call it longevity escape velocity -- where we have a sufficiently comprehensive panel of therapies to enable us to push back the ill health of old age faster than time is passing. And that way, we buy ourselves enough time to develop more therapies further as time goes on," he said.

"What we can actually predict in terms of how long people will live is absolutely nothing, because it will be determined by the risk of death from other causes like accidents," he said.

"But there really shouldn't be any limit imposed by how long ago you were born. The whole point of maintenance is that it works indefinitely."


 2011/7/4 15:58Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37637
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: Scientists: People may live to be 150-1000 yrs old

"I'd say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," de Grey said in an interview before delivering a lecture at Britain's Royal Institution academy of science.

To me this seems like the foolish pride of men that they can extend their life with their own work and hands. But they do not know that "life is a vapor" and "men are as grass in the field." and "the days of men are in the Lord's hand."

We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/7/4 18:18Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


Hi Greg,


To me this seems like the foolish pride of men that they can extend their life with their own work and hands. But they do not know that "life is a vapor" and "men are as grass in the field." and "the days of men are in the Lord's hand."

We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

I agree.

As a believer, why would we even WANT to live to be 1,000? To live is Christ, of course, but our greatest goal in life -- to see the face of the One who made us -- lay on the other side of Eternity.

On another note: I had a boss who was very meticulous in regard to his diet and physical activity. He told me that he read so many studies about how individuals with selective diets and healthy physical practice live an average of two years longer than those who aren't quite as conscious of or concerned with their health.

I certainly believe that we should be good stewards with the body that the Lord has given us. We are not our own. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Yet, I always thought about the irony of individuals who are equally as meticulous with their health as my boss...yet die in accidents, illnesses or disasters. They hung desperately to more time on this Earth -- often because they thought that this world is all there is. They either dismissed the concept or made no preparation for Eternity.

Queen Elizabeth I is often quoted with having said before she died, "All my possessions for a moment of time." Whether or not it is an accurate quote is beside the point. There are many people who live their lives in the pursuit of selfish pleasure thinking that there are no consequences in Eternity.

I don't believe that God will allow medical practice to advance to the point where men will live to 1,000 years of age. It is interesting that this scientist mentioned that the "first" person may be born in our lifetime that will live that long. A few years ago, this was a point of mockery regarding the Genesis account, where men routinely lived between 900-1000 years. Now, scientists hope to do the same.

However, God has limited the age of men...twice. In Genesis 6:3, it appears that man's extent of life was limited to about 120 years. Later, God limited it to 70-80 years, except by reason of strength (Psalm 90:10).

It is telling that mankind holds on so tenaciously to this life. It is so fleeting. Like you said, it is "but a vapour." As believers, the sting has been taken from death. We do not fear death as the people of this world do. It is a promotion for us...where we can finally see the face of our Lord.

I have often wondered about the death of Moses. When God brought him up the mountain to see the Promised Land, Moses was 120 years old -- the extent of life possibly mentioned in Genesis 6:3. Yet the Bible says that Moses was still strong. Deuteronomy 34:7 says, "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Yet, as strong and healthy as he was, he still died. We also know that Satan and Michael fought over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).

We don't know exactly WHY or HOW Moses died, but I have often wondered if he saw the face of God. After all, we are told a couple of times that Moses saw God "face-to-face" (Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:7). Yet we also know that no man can see God's face and live (Exodus 33:20,23). Yet the Word says that Moses knew the Lord "face-to-face." I have often wondered if Moses, after being shown the land that was promised atop the mountain turned around and saw the Lord. That would be a glorious death -- and the best way to go!

Of course, this is just speculation. However, as believers, we have a desire and encouragement to seek the face of God. As much as I enjoy living for Christ, I would much prefer to move on to Eternity where I am no longer limited by the confines of this fleshly body or that "glass darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12).

Live to 1,000? I am content with everlasting life with the Living God.


 2011/7/4 20:42Profile

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2674
Nottingham, England


Even with living a 1,000 years, or even 2,000, we still have to face death and eternity.

Where will we spend eternity?

 2011/7/6 1:37Profile

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