Remember way back at the beginning of April when Body Hacks claimed the search for the fountain of youth would drive transhumanism more than anything else? Well, it turns out we were right about the future again.
Now we have a pill that’s shaving old age off of lab animals. Another way to put it is, it’s adding vitality to those lab animals. It’s no snake oil and it’s no joke.
The first test results of this new drug popped up in 2014, but in more recent history a health tech company PureTech purchased the license for the formula and formed a startup. It looks like we are at the precipice of some serious body hacking; maybe.
Once again we have to ask, what does it all mean?
How fitting that this comes up the same week as the bunny holiday?
The island known for the large stone heads poking out of the ground is the source of many mysteries.
First, there was the discovery a few years back that the heads had bodies buried in the earth. (Who was the short-sighted archeologist that missed that detail? You didn’t think to dig around a bit?)
Now, those same islands have produced a bacteria which may hold the secret to extending life. Researchers call the substance Rapamycin.
The name comes from the local name of the island, Rapa Nui, also the language of the natives. We know the substance carries strong immunosuppressant qualities, helpful in organ transplants, but some lab nerds also discovered another trick up its sleeve.
Rapamycin extends the life of small animals; not just insects, but rodents. Mice who consumed the substance lived 25 percent longer than control mice.
That’s huge, but what’s even crazier is, it didn’t matter when researchers introduced the substance into the mice’s lives. At present, researchers in Seattle are testing the substance on dogs.
Even if it never works on humans, the marketability to pet market, especially for breeds which only live eight years or so, could be huge.
We have no proof that Rapamycin would work on human beings, but it looks promising. The prospects are good enough that PureTech created a company called resTORbio, which they intend to use for testing and marking the drug if it works.
PureTech licensed two drug molecule derivatives of Rapamycin. If they are successful with testing, they are going to be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Also, we’re gonna need to adjust our average retirement age, IRA laws, and social security planning.
We’re gonna have to figure out what to do with all these aging adults. Seriously, what do we do when people stop dying well before their retirement runs out?
The goal for some folks may be to live forever. For the rest of us, 80 years or so seems short. We’d be happy with a few more years. This writer would like humans to live close to 200 years.
The objection is usually, “who would want to live that long, bedridden and decrepit?”
The idea is 200 vital years, not an elongated trajectory of our current standard. What if 180 years old looked and felt what 60-years-old is like today?
Imagine what we could achieve if the arc of our lives was longer, the achievements humans could surpass with the adequate time to develop ideas, research theories, push the human experience.
For the average joe, it would mean we’d have more time to pursue the things we’ve always wanted, travel the world, make money, whatever.
Don’t think for a second I don’t smell the steaming heap of naivety underneath me. There are realities I can’t imagine within this dream, but it seems we may face the reality of the dream, at least in part, before I die of old age.
If resTORbio has it their way, I may get to find out first hand.
Source: Technology Review