Who Says Living a Thousand Years Isn't Possible?
Aubrey de Grey is indeed a prophet. The 42-year-old English biogerontologist has made his name by claiming that some people alive right now could live for 1,000 years or longer. Maybe much longer
He made this bold pronouncement, and several more like it, late one evening during a recent conference here that could have been called "The Aubrey de Grey Symposium on Cheating Death." He organized it, chose each of the speakers, decided when and for how long they should speak, and helped coordinate travel arrangements. He could even be spotted handing out name tags at the sign-in desk. Sessions began at 8:30 a.m., and it wasn't unusual to hear Mr. de Grey arguing well past midnight about the moral imperative of curing aging.
The speakers were invited because their specialties all, in some way, fit into Mr. de Grey's seven-step plan to keep people from growing old. Each of the steps is related to the death of cells. For instance, Mr. de Grey recommends using stem-cell therapy to introduce new cells that can fill in the gaps left by dead ones. He also suggests that plaques that accumulate around cells — which may be responsible for diseases like Alzheimer's — can be dissolved with small molecules called "beta-breakers."
If that sounds a little vague, it is. Mr. de Grey is not saying he knows for certain how to fix these problems, only that these are the problems responsible for the physical breakdowns we experience as we grow older. Lick them, and you've licked aging, or so the thinking goes.
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