Monday, October 24, 2005

Who wants to live forever?


Eternal life in 7 not-so-easy steps - as told by biogerontologist, Aubrey de Grey.
(Via Boing Boing)
  1. The problem: Cell loss or atrophy
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Develop stem cells to replace lost cells. Or use chemicals that stimulate the division of cells to produce new ones.

  2. The problem: Cancer
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Aggressive gene therapy will make it impossible for cancer cells to reproduce. Stem-cell therapy will prevent side effects.

  3. The problem: Mitochondrial mutations
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Mitochondria are the cell's power plants, and they house separate genes that are prone to harmful mutations that cause diseases. To prevent those problems, copy the critical mitochondrial genes and insert the copies in the cell's nucleus, where they will be better protected.

  4. The problem: Unwanted cells (such as fat cells)
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Possibly stimulate the immune system to kill unwanted cells.

  5. The problem: Stiffening of proteins outside the cell
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Proteins outside cells help support tissues, making arteries elastic and ligaments strong. But chemical reactions throughout life link those proteins and make them less mobile. Specific chemicals could break those links and allow the proteins to move more easily. One chemical is already in clinical trials, says Mr. de Grey.

  6. The problem: "Junk" outside the cell
    Mr. de Grey's solution: Plaques accumulate outside the cell and may lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's. Small molecules called beta-breakers may break these plaques down.

  7. The problem: "Junk" inside the cell
    Mr. de Grey's solution: As cells age, molecules can change in ways that make them stop working. Those structures can accumulate in cells and and eventually overwhelm them. Extra enzymes from bacteria could be given to cells to degrade the unwanted material.
(From The Man Who Would Murder Death)

5 Ninjas, 1 Kitten and a Fifth of Vodka!