No matter how thorough we stick to even the most perfect health and longevity regimen that is available today, there are limits to what we can achieve with current technologies.
Our metabolism itself damages our cells, inside and out. The byproducts and damage accumulate over time to the point where things start breaking down and our bodies age and get sick.
Conventional research on aging tries to fully understand how these unwanted byproducts are produced. What damage they cause and how it can be minimized by manipulating our metabolism (e.g. with calorie restriction). Unfortunately, this has proven to be extremely elusive, progress painfully slow and even if successful only of limited use, since they only minimally decrease the amount of damage done and junk created. Some practical results of this approach exist and can be used today, but unfortunately are inherently limited in efficiency and the scale of healthy life extension they offer.
It's just the way our whole body is set up to operate. Just like a car, we can tune the engine to produce less damaging by-products, less friction, less stress for the whole system. However, we cannot totally get rid of the adverse effects of operating the engine. No matter how well we tune it, it will always produce some level of damage that in the end will lead to a breakdown.
Applying molecular and cellular repair is probably the most exciting and promising approach to overcome aging. It is an alternative and fresh view on how to develop therapies to cure aging.
At the core is a very pragmatic view: A certain amount of damage and unwanted byproducts that our body is not able to deal with are the inevitable result of our metabolism. They need to be fixed before any harm is done. Just like an old car with proper maintenance can be kept functional almost indefinitely - despite the ongoing wear and tear.
Seven major groups of unwanted byproducts and damage have been identified that holistically describe the process of aging. This allows viewing the huge challenge to cure aging as a number of individual, much smaller sub-challenges that each can be tackled on their own. This enormously reduces the complexity of the whole task, making it manageable with a step-by-step approach.
Once we have discovered enough maintenance therapies, we will be able to keep our bodies functional far, far longer than with any conventional approach.
Among all the long-term strategies that try to undo or prevent our aging process the engineering approach to repair the damage caused by aging on a cellular and molecular level by far the most promising in terms of producing dramatic, applicable results in the mid-term future.
Ending Ageing (Reading List)
The SENS Research Foundation (sens.org)
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (fightageing.org)
Research based on molecular and cellular repair has already demonstrated first results in reversing two of the seven root causes of aging and has laid the groundwork to start developing therapeutic agents to fix the third one. Once we have discovered enough maintenance therapies, we will be able to keep our bodies functional far, far longer than with any conventional approach.
There are already a few early-stage startups that work on turning these research result into therapies suited for humans, that might be available in the next few years.
25% Median Life Extension in Mice via Senescent Cell Clearance (fightaging.org)
The SENS Rejuvenation Biotechnology Companies (fightaging.org)
However, this extremely promising but young field of research still lacks the attention that other domains in the field of biogerontology receive. We think it is essential to raise the support and accelerate the development of these technologies as much as possible.
Therefore the Forever Healthy Foundation has decided to step up and directly support the most promising research in this field.