In a few decades it will likely become possible to target aging via new medications. 'Cure' aging, if you will.
Research into the molecular mechanisms of aging has accelerated tremendously in recent years and exceeded all expectations. Since the 2010s, we have had a sufficiently good scientific understanding to start developing these medicines.
This has led to an explosion of new biotech companies. Of particular note are Googles' Calico Labs and Jeff Bezos' Altos Labs, both with world-leading researchers and billions of dollars in capital. In 2012 there wasn't a single longevity company, now there are over 180.
Curiously, this development has not become widely known. Among prominent CEOs, agency officials, journalists and politicians, few know what has happened. The contrast is striking when I speak to entrepreneurs and scientists at research conferences. There is an exuberant enthusiasm.
The question is no longer whether longevity drugs can be developed, but which company will be first. Every week I receive messages from friends and colleagues in different countries. There is a constant stream of new company launches and research articles.
This ignorance is a problem. Longevity medicine will have a profound effect on all parts of society.
Today we can only begin to imagine how society will change. To ensure a good future this revolution needs to be more widely known. An inclusive societal debate is needed.
Basic facts need to become common knowledge: in Sweden, an average of 200 people die every day from age-related diseases (out of 110,000 in the world as a whole). Aging itself is the largest risk factor for all major public diseases. And just over a third of all public expenditure goes to caring for the elderly.
Do we want this state of affairs to continue, now that we know that it's possible to do something about it?
I, for one, say no. It's time to solve aging!
I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed.
Prof David A. Sinclair, Harvard Medical School
The Hallmarks of Aging. This is one of most common ways of describing what aging is at the molecular level.