What if ageing were many symptoms of a disease called death?
What if a cure could be found for those symptoms and the demise could be avoided forever?
Well, there are those out there who believe they have found that cure, although they won’t be the first to claim so. Many before have sought and been offered an ‘elixir of life’ (in one form or another); however when the time arrived they too have all faced the inevitable, death.
So, why is modern science taking up the banner and perusing the realms that once belonged to the protoscience alchemy? Why do they or we feel so strongly about postponing something that is natural, something which defines us as humans?
SENS Research Foundation has begun this quest into immortality; led by the ‘pioneering’ founder Dr Aubrey de Grey.
Although the work has some under scrutiny, heavy questioning and speculation, Dr de Grey has not faltered in his claims that humans can obtain immortality. He has worked steadily from 2005 to gain respect, following and funding to prove his theories, which cannot be disproved. In fact, some of his theoretical ideas have already been adopted into science and medicine.
SENS (Dr de Grey) worked to identify 7 key pillars of ageing; major causes of cellular and molecular damage resulting in ageing and then death. These are;
Cell loss and atrophy of tissue
Death resistant cells
If these can be cured via vaccination, drugs to target cell suicides, stem cell transplants, and so on and so on, then people have an improved chance of indeed being immortal. To be immortal a body requires tissue immortality, which can be derived by merely replenishing the pool of stem cells indefinitely.
Sounds sci-fi, well, not so.
In Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina, they are already growing human tissue from; cartilage to whole body organs.
There are labs that harvest stem cells from children’s teeth, so in the future if you require a replacement body part, they can grow it from stem cells.
“We now understand how to fix all of this damage (the above 7 pillars of ageing). For each major class of ageing damage, a strategy for its removal or repair either already exists in prototype form, or is foreseeable from existing scientific developments: see the specific “Rejuvenation Biotechnology” listed for each kind of ageing damage”.
“Even after we use these new therapies to repair an ageing tissue, metabolic processes will continue to cause new damage. This simply means that rejuvenation biotechnologies are not a one-off fix, but will need to be periodically repeated to preserve youthful function. Just as cars need regular rounds of oil changes and spark plug replacements to keep them running smoothly, people will need to go in to rejuvenation clinics to keep up with their regenerative treatments to continue postponing age-related disease”.
Above extract taken from SENS Institute web page: http://www.sens.org/about
So, isn’t future or further progress in the techniques of prolonging life merely just a step on from what methods are currently being utilised??
Implants, bionic body parts, stem cell technology, artificial skin; medications like statins, insulin, blood pressure tablets, HRT and so on and so on – already modify the human body, already prolong life. What is so different with taking this further, fixing every flaw and removing all the ‘junk’ that creates ageing and then death – so that humans could live forever????
Or, is this a case of technology exceeding our humanity?
Perhaps humans are taking control of their own evolution though??? Instead of waiting for some random pick and mix dictated over aeons, to finally reach completion, if it ever does; humans just make themselves evolve.
Yet, do we know enough about evolution and how it works to interfere?
Do we have a right to remove death as a get out clause? Who wants to live, work, love and pay taxes forever?
Is there even a place in the world for someone who is immortal? What new ideas and developments could immortals offer humanity??
What about children and over population if everyone chose to live forever?
Are we playing a game of perfection selection with our bodies – enhancing what we choose and eliminating what we don’t want?
Is it ethical to intervene? Or these ‘experiments’ merely trial and error which is normal to help us progress?? If we don’t explore these new technologies are we ‘cutting off our noses to spite our faces’ and remaining in the dark ages?
Should we live forever? Who would want to?
Would this be the option of the wealthy only? Therefore, allowing them to maintain tenure of power for always with no inroad for a newbie??
If these ‘cures’ were practised what would occur – how would they actually work, or succeed?
Would they alter the human body, genome, and trajectory too much? Would this interfering backfire and produce monsters?
Would it interfere with the normal progression of life too much? Would it impact negatively and possibly kill the human species or the world around us?
Would it trigger new diseases which are only more resilient?
Is this a miracle been made out as invalid science because science is afraid of what progress it could bring?
Is what SENS hope to achieve all theory and no practice?? Too complicated to replicate and reproduce in actual terms within a lab, let alone real life? Is it all pie in the sky?
Tell me what you think about immortality and how you would feel about living forever.
Also, notice I haven’t mentioned a thing about religion on this topic. Perhaps it too has relevance I.E: the soul of a person?? Are we playing God?
Let me know what you think about this science and how it could be effective or detrimental to human nature, life and progress.