Human life expectancy will reach '1000 years', scientist says

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
It may seem like the stuff of science fiction films, but according to a longevity expert, scientists will have the tools to "cure" ageing within our lifetime, enabling humans to live for 1000 years.

Dr Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist and chief of Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), a foundation based in California dedicated to longevity research, says that within 25 years we will have eradicated diseases, drastically increasing our life expectancy, Reuters reported.

"I'd say we have a 50:50 chance of bringing ageing under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," Dr de Grey said.

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

Dr de Grey said that to stay in top health, people will visit their doctors for routine "maintenance", which will include gene and stem cell therapy, immune stimulation and other medical techniques.

Dr de Grey attributes ageing to 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 said.

According to Dr de Grey, each major advance in longevity will buy more time for more scientific advances, meaning the first person to live to 1000 will be born only 20 years after the first person to live to 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," he said.

"And that way, we buy ourselves enough time to develop more therapies further as time goes on.

"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.

"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."

In 2005 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review journal offered $20,000 for any molecular biologist who could prove Dr de Grey's SENS theory wrong. It was never been won.

Your say: Should humans live for 1000 years?

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