Scientists who study the biology of Aging agreed that we would someday be able to slow down the aging process substantially.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer at SENS Research Foundation and VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics believes that the critical biomedical technology required to eliminate aging derived debilitation and death is now within reach.
In his book “Ending Aging” he and his research assistant Michael Rae described the details of this biotechnology. They explained that the Aging of the human body, just like the Aging of manmade machines, results from an accumulation of various types of damage. As with manmade machines, this damage can periodically be repaired, leading to the indefinite extension of the machines fully functional lifetime just as is routinely done with classic cars.
We already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body, and we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that damage.
By demystifying aging, Dr. Aubrey de Grey systematically dismantles the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science.
He is the author of “Ending Aging,” rejuvenation breakthroughs that could reverse human Aging in our lifetime. His book is available at Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Ending-Aging-Rejuvenation-Breakthroughs-Lifetime/dp/B01EBAP43C/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Ending+Aging+aubrey+de+grey&qid=1583555592&sr=8-1
Hanh Brown: [00:00:00] Albi gray believed that the critical biomedical technology required to eliminate aging derive debilitation and death is now within reach. In his book, ending aging, he and his research assistant, Michael Ray described the details of this biotechnology. They explained that the aging of the human body, just like the aging of manmade machines result from an accumulation of various types of damage.[00:01:49] As with manmade machines, this damage can periodically be repaired. Leading to the indefinite extension of the machines, fully functional lifetime, just as routinely done with classic cars, we already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body. And we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that damage. [00:02:15] By Demistifying aging, dr. Aubrey gray, systematically dismantles the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science. He is the author of ending aging rejuvenation breakthroughs that could reverse human aging in our lifetime, but welcome dr. Gray. So please tell us about your journey in becoming a biomedical gerontologist.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:02:40] I was originally a computer scientist, but 25 years ago, or so I decided to switch fields and to work on the biology of aging, because I just fell to my horror that hardly anybody else was doing. And I have over the past 20 years has been pursuing an approach that was pretty new originally. Namely to actually turn back rejuvenate vehicle by repairing the damage that they accumulate, that they inflict on themselves and the side effect of the body’s normal operation throughout life.[00:03:17] And this is something that was quite a departure from what was the established conventional way of looking at doing something about aging back then mainly. So kind of make the body run more cleanly and damage itself more slowly than it. Naturally though, that turns out actually repairing damage after it’s been done.
[00:03:40] The approach that I put forward 20 years ago is now very mainstream and Orthodox [00:03:47] research foundation, which is biomedical research, charity and stuff is at the forefront of actually developing. Medicines that can perform this damage repair that I’m talking about. So that’s really what we do. We have our own laboratories in mountain view, California. We do some of our projects, but we also fund laboratories and various universities and institutes around the world to see if some of these things, because the people that are for whatever reason, [00:04:23] So one way or another, it’s just kind of divide and conquer strategy to keep the body useful and indeed, to restore it to usefulness for people who are already in middle age or older, and we focused on the really early stage. So that is not. Sufficiently far along could be viewed as investible. You know, something that will be done by a startup company. [00:04:47] For example, however, our business model is precisely to change that. In other words, to work on a project. I I’ll give them projects for as long as it takes to get it to the point where it is investible and where people with deep pockets are willing to come in and scale the project. Take it to a whole new level as a startup company.
Hanh Brown: [00:05:09] Please elaborate the biology of aging. And how is it analogous to the manmade machines? And what impact does having senior living.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:05:18] well? Okay. First of all, the biology of aging is actually a much simpler thing to understand than a lot of people say aging of a living organism is. Really no different in its fundamentals than aging of a simple manmade machine, like a car or an airplane, essentially.[00:05:40] Any machine that has moving parts is going to damage itself as a consequence of its normal operation. So they accumulate contaminants in the oil. And so. And the way that we deal with that is by preventative maintenance. Now, most people don’t do particularly therapy, preventative maintenance on their cars and airplanes, and that’s why those machines eventually fall apart. [00:06:05] But the thing is that some people do. So that’s why we have vintage cars that are a hundred years old, just because the maintenance has been done more comprehensively. So the human body is of course a machine it’s a really, really complicated machine, but it’s still a machine. And therefore there is no reason why we should not be able to do the same thing to develop a range of medicines that jointly. [00:06:32] Constitutes a comprehensive panel of preventative measures of damage repair eliminating the various molecular and cellular ulcerations that the body does to itself progressively over time. Not necessarily eliminating them completely, but eliminating them enough that they don’t rise to the point that makes the body work less. [00:06:55] Chronic progressive conditions, most cancers or atherosclerosis. And so, to be honest, what it means is that senior living is going to be a second for the existence of the whole concept of senior living is of course predicated on the assumption that people who were born a long time ago, in some sense, diminished function, whether mental or physical, that is something that we are seeking to put an answer. [00:07:23] So really at moment, the situation with senior living is one that is a kind of stock. People are obviously getting sick when they get older and the next course of a variety of different times. And it’s fantastic that society provides that. And of course it would be more fantastic if it provided it more thoroughly.
[00:07:44] But our goal is to reach a point where there is no longer that need.
Hanh Brown: [00:07:49] So your mission is to slow down the aging process, allowing people to live longer, let’s say in their hundreds. So I’m curious to know at what capacity will one be able to function and what would one do when one is in their hundreds.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:08:05] So I don’t think that’s a sensible question to be thinking about. I don’t think about what I’m going to be doing 10 years from now. And I don’t think most people do, essentially the reason we don’t think about those things there isn’t, it doesn’t really make sense to think about those things is because we know that we don’t have to decide.[00:08:21] Now we can figure it out as time goes on. You know, it’s like having an opinion about what time one wants to go to the toilet. Next Sunday, you may have an opinion about what time you expect to go to the toilet, but having an opinion about what time you want to go makes no sense at all. And you’re going to have better information on the topic near the time.
Hanh Brown: [00:08:38] What is the progress of your study in where are you in achieving this mission?
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:08:44] Right? Yeah. So this is of course the $6 million question and most scientists do not like to answer that question. To be honest, they feel that it’s irresponsible to get people’s hopes up to engender unwarranted optimism, irresponsible, not to give predictions because if the experts do not do that, Then people are going to make up their own prediction and that predictions are going to be just not going to happen.[00:09:12] That’s the way it’s always been since the beginning of civilization. The thing is though I do have to be Catholic to incorporate in my prediction. The fact that this is early stage for that any timeframe prediction is extraordinarily speculative is that I believe that we have a 50% probability. Oh, a kind of decisive level of comprehensiveness of these damaged repair therapies, which is something that ask code longevity, escape velocity within about 17 years from now. [00:09:42] Now there’s at least a 10% chance that we won’t get there for a hundred years. That’s okay. You know, essentially percent chance is quite enough to be worthless.
Hanh Brown: [00:09:50] Since the Dawn of medicine, aging has been doctors foremost challenge. There have been three unsuccessful approaches to conquering it. And the first one was treating components of age related ill health as curable diseases.[00:10:06] The second one was extrapolating from differences between species in the rate of aging. And the third one is emanating the life extension that famine elicits in shortly of species sense. Research foundation is spearheading the fourth age of anti-aging research, the repair of age related damage. That is rejuvenation biotechnology. [00:10:30] This process restores the body’s molecular and cellular structure to set up a young adult and thereby greatly postponing all aspects of age related disease. Please elaborate this
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:10:44] well, as I mentioned, this is a divide and conquer strategy as it bound to be because of course any complicated machine is going to damage itself in a lot of different way.[00:10:53] So. The big red story that I made 20 years ago that allowed me to pursue this and allowed me to get the whole concept off the ground. Even though there are lots and lots and lots, lots, yeah. Different types of damage that the body accumulates that can be classified into a very much more manageable number of castles. [00:11:13] And the purpose of this classification is that for each of the categories, which of these seven categories, there is a generic repair strategy. So, for example, one of the categories, there is loss of cells, which simply means cells dying and not being automatically replaced by division of other cells. Now, the generic approach to fixing that is STEM cell therapy therapy, right? [00:11:38] You basically prepare cells into a state where you can inject them into the person and they will divide and transform themselves into replacements for the cells that the body is not replacing. So in other words, the number of cells in the effected tissue or organ is restored to what it was before the cell death that occurred in the first place. [00:11:59] So that’s one example and of course, different slogans need different types of STEM cell therapy because they have different types of cells, but that’s okay because these different types of STEM cell therapy has an awful lot income. Every time I let her be, it has a lot of comments. So that means that once you’ve got a couple of them working, getting the next one, but the one after that will be much easier and quicker than the first one.
Hanh Brown: [00:12:20] So what are the subdivision of the roles of gerontology, social gerontology, bio gerontology, biomedical gerontology, and then of course, geriatric medicine and in which.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:12:34] that’s the problem with terminology, that the word gerontology is a very casual word for the study of every single about older people.[00:12:42] And so you need to kind of subdivide geriatrics is sometimes called clinical gerontology. And what that means is basically using the medicines that we already have today to improve the lives as best we can with the medicines we have today are of course, woefully inadequate. And therefore we definitely need to improve in order to make people genuinely healthy when they get older. [00:13:08] So that’s what geriatrics is. Then there’s of course, social gerontology, which has nothing to do with medicine at all. It’s basically just to do with structuring society in a manner that maximizes the dignity of the elderly as they become increasingly sick, things like that. And then there’s bio gerontology, which is the study of the biology of aging. [00:13:28] But with Biogen ontology, one caveat that I have is that it’s all about studying it just for the purpose of understanding, rather than the same way that cosmologists studying the universe. Right. They don’t expect to do anything to the universe. They just don’t understand it. So that’s what about about years ago? [00:13:47] One of my big heroes tell them Harmon coined the term biomedical gerontology, which is kind of. Intermediate between both gerontology and geriatrics. In other words, it isn’t just studying for the sake of studying the goal of biomedical gerontology is absolutely to make people’s lives better to improve their physical and mental capacities later in life. [00:14:08] But it revolves around developing new medicines that don’t exist yet. So it’s very much a research area rather than. The medical area. So yeah, I’m a biomedical gerontologist.
Hanh Brown: [00:14:17]. So there are, Oh, work between these professionals, if biomedical gerontologists achieve their mission, let’s say so once you’re able to repair the damage of aging faster than time passing.[00:14:31] Then people won’t get sick then would we need the other professionals?
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:14:37] We’ll continue to need bio gerontologists. People who work to understand aging better because the more we understand, the more options we have available for doing the translational part of the biomedical gerontology. But once we get the biomedical gerontology to a sufficient level of progress, In other words, once we are able to keep to repair the damage of aging, faster than time is passing, so to speak, then people just weren’t getting sick as a result of being, Oh, the only reason they’ll get coronavirus or something like that.[00:15:07] So that means that actually geriatricians will be out of business along with a whole bunch of other people, like, you know, undertake life insurance companies.
Hanh Brown: [00:15:17] So with regard to rejuvenating people’s light and turning back their biological clock, meantime, What should people be doing to lengthening their lives?
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:15:28] The area I mentioned earlier, STEM cell therapy is an area that has been an established field of research for a long, long time, and quite a few aspects of cell loss during aging. Now. The subject of clinical trials, where actual people are being treated with STEM cells to restore their cells. For example, Parkinson’s is a great example of an aspect of aging that is predominantly driven by cell loss.[00:15:57] And there are clinical trials going on for Parkinson’s. Similarly, there are drugs that have been developed recently. Which go under the name. This is a word that you’ll see a lot in media these days, because these drugs have really caught people’s attention. What they do is they selectively kill cells that are sick, that I’ve got into a stage where they’re doing more harm than good, but for whatever reason, the body is failing to get rid of them on its own. [00:16:23] And these drugs again are in clinical trials in some cases for osteoarthritis, for example. So things are really getting that there are some other areas, most of the areas, in fact of damage repair that needs to be done. I consider them the earliest stage. And that’s why sensory research foundation still exists. [00:16:38] But we’re really getting that, which comes now to your question. So as you say, people have got to try and do the best with what exists right now, and there is a long way to go so well, People of course want to be follow this diet. So follow this last time. But unfortunately that’s not true. The impact that you can have on how long you stay youthful and healthy as a consequence of your diet or your lifestyle is really tiny. [00:17:03] Like you might make a few months there for once. If you’re lucky now I’m not saying that’s not worth doing of course, every few months, nothing. Plus of course, every few months slightly increases your chances. Oh, still being around when the therapies that we’re working to develop actually come on straight. [00:17:20] So that all make sense. But at the end of the day, the magnitude of this effect of what you can do is really tiny. Therefore I have to be perfectly blunt and say that the single biggest thing that most people can do to improve their chances of staying healthy for longer. And to donate to this was to actually get the work done faster so that they could benefit from it when otherwise they might not.
Hanh Brown: [00:17:44] What you’re saying is a person can eat properly. Get a good amount of sleep, socially, engage and manage one stress level. All of which are very important, but they only have a minute impact on one’s longevity. So there would not be a need for senior living. If scientists are able to repair the damaged cells of aging, since one will not age.[00:18:10] Well, that’s fascinating. Society has such a negative stereotype about aging and the phobia of the age.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:18:18] I mean, really that’s a large part of why I think this is so important that we will be able to genuinely preserve and. Maintain the dignity of the elderly, because they won’t have anything to be undignified about.
Hanh Brown: [00:18:34] What should we tell the elderly of your mission? Do you think they would be discouraged since you may not achieve your research timely for them? Would the elderly embrace this for the next generation to come?
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:18:47] Well, first of all, I should emphasize geriatrics is not my field senior living. It’s not my field.[00:18:52] I do research. So I don’t want you to take this too. Literally. But one thing that I feel is very worth doing is to let the elderly know how much progress is being made. A lot of people say we shouldn’t really focus on that because the elderly, especially when they’re already going downhill in a big way. [00:19:10] These people know that these therapies are not going to be in time for that. So it’s just gonna make them more miserable, but they’re going to be the last generation to have to suffer like, well, I don’t really agree with that. I think that most elderly people are really thinking about the next generation. [00:19:25] I think about their kids. The biggest thing that the elderly are. The most scared of go downhill is becoming dependent on their kids, right. And impact the lives of their kids because they themselves are not able to look after themselves. And of course, largely to minimize that problem. So I believe that actually it will be encouraging to the elderly and make them feel better about things. [00:19:50] That’s the whole concept of the exemplar of today.
Hanh Brown: [00:19:56] So do you think the elderly would embrace this mission to repair the damaged cells of aging for their children and grandchildren? So economically an increase in life expectancy may have a positive and a negative effect on per capital income. On one hand, it may increase productivity of available resources by improving health of the workers.[00:20:18] And it may increase the incentives to undertake long-term investments like human capital. On the other hand, higher life expectancy may lead to an increase in population that may depress income per capita. Yes. Is Americans live longer? Social security will pay more benefits because life expectancy is longer and retirement income lower. [00:20:42] Many baby boomers are choosing to delay retirement as long as possible, heading income last, as long as you do as a huge issue to consider with longer life expectancy, definitely we will follow your work. So how do listeners find you? I know that you are very searchable online. You have a YouTube channel, Ted talk and so forth.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:21:02] Well, we have a website, of course, we provide a lot of information there. The website has written for every kind of audience from real experts all the way down. And of course, we talk about all the work we’re doing. We have a lot of publications there. We have research reports and so on. Plus also we have plenty of news about work that other people are doing that is aligned with the same goal.
Hanh Brown: [00:21:29] So there are 10,000 people turning 65 every day. So I look forward to seeing how the lives of these folks will be enhanced.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:21:37] Well that’s right. And the more people there are that are under 65, the more important it becomes to ensure that the health of those people who are over 65 is improved. Of course, those two things go together because most people die from being sick.[00:21:50] So the more people that we can help to stay healthy, the faster we will. Grow the population, but that won’t be a problem anymore. It will be a good thing to know.
Hanh Brown: [00:22:00] What are you doing in lengthening your life?
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:22:03] I mean, honestly, I’m also one of those lucky people. I seem to be able to eat and drink exactly what I like and nothing happens.[00:22:09] I don’t even need to do any exercise to speak up. So I’m biologically a lot younger than my actual age already. So in a sense, you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So to speak, shortening my life by not getting enough sleep, but I figured that’s okay. You know, I’m spending that time hastening the defeat of aging. [00:22:25] So maybe it’s a net win.
Hanh Brown: [00:22:27] Maybe someday we can have a pill to take, to stay younger forever.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:22:31] I mean, I’ve given a couple of examples already. The elimination of these things called senescent cells, which are cells that are in a fixed day and also the replenishment of cells that are not being replenished by salivation automatically.[00:22:44] Most of the things we work on are at an earlier stage, they involve, for example, identifying bacterial enzymes that can break down various types of waste products that accumulate inside cells. Or stimulating the immune system and Gulf stuff, things like that. Restoring the LS and other tissues that become molecularly damaged over time.
Hanh Brown: [00:23:10] There are all sorts of medicine nowadays, right? Donepezil Razadyne Alexa toe to help treat dementia. We all would like to see some more preventative and holistic type medicine.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:23:24] Yeah. The medicines that exist today. Of course, they basically don’t work for things that go wrong with people. They can lie, but the actual nature of those medicines is not going to change very much.[00:23:35] So for example, the way that one actually administered STEM cell therapies is typically just by injecting into the bloodstream the same way that we would do today with a vaccine or whatever. And if some of the newest therapies that we’re developing will be back. So we’ll be immunotherapies of one kind or another and little be done by injection. [00:23:52] Similarly for gene therapy. So gene therapy in the terribly futuristic area, but it’s going to be absolutely fundamental. And you basically engineer some DNA in a virus and you inject. So the actual, from the point of view of the patient, medicine’s not going to change. The only thing that’s really going to change the law is that medicine will be much more preventative. [00:24:15] Most medicines will be given to people who are not yet. Whereas today, you know, there’s a few of those, like for example, Statens or ACE inhibitors to the high blood pressure, which are given to people when they just have warning signs of getting sick sometimes too. But those are the exceptions. Most medicine is going to be like that in the future.
Hanh Brown: [00:24:32] Vindictive medicine takes a proactive approach to patient care and is designed to avert and avoid diseases.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:24:39] Of course, there are two different things that one can mean by the term preventative medicine. Uh, the way I’ve just used. It simply means the medicine that you take when you’re not yet sick. But of course this medicine will be doing damage repair.[00:24:51] So it will actually be a treatment. And the other sentence that will be restoring the body at the molecular and cellular level. So it’s kind of a sweet spot between prevention and treatment. Now, the relationship to holistic medicine or integrative medicine or whatever, essentially stuff that we can do today, but maybe stuff that’s not necessarily from the West, you know, stuff that has, for example, Chinese medicine, for example, These things have that place. [00:25:18] Absolutely. I believe that they will be actually more valuable when they can be co-administered where they started developing than they are today because we’ll have a more tractable problem to be working on it.
Hanh Brown: [00:25:34] Preventative medicine, Heather place. And we do need both. That’s right. So please tell the listeners how, I guess, where we can find your book and where we can get it.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:25:45] Sure. So I wrote it some time ago in 2007, actually it’s called ending aging and yeah, it’s easy to get, but yeah, the fact that it’s more than a decade old should not actually be over interpreted because the fact is it’s still pretty up to date. Not because of lack of progress. That’s been absolutely massive progress.[00:26:02] So that’s really great. But the reason it’s up to date, because the actual nature of the progress that the cut in the main time have been pretty much exactly what we predicted back then. So there’s not need to be any paradigm shifts, no additional types of molecular or cellular damage have been identified that we need a whole new approach. [00:26:19] So say even the approaches that we suggested back in the book. So repairing the various types of damage, each of those approaches is best. They stood the test of time and some of them have progressed more than others, but they will progress a lot and they all look promising still. So yes, anything from 2007, I recommend getting the paperback edition, which came out a year later, simply because it has an extra chapter in it that covers.
Hanh Brown: [00:26:43] Well, thank you so much for your work, any message that you would like to share with the listeners.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:26:48] Well, I guess the first thing to highlight is that this research is moving faster than ever, but it can still move faster, a bit more financial support, and it’s the biggest problem facing mankind. So therefore this is the most valuable crusade that mankind is engaged.[00:27:08] I think the more people understand that and the more people understand that the original conception of aging is this kind of natural, inevitable, universal thing is actually wrong and it’s going to be outdated. Then the more support that will be, and the first initial search is going to get done. More lives are going to be safe. [00:27:28] And so everyone, whether they’re a scientist or not, whether they’re a journalist or not, everyone can play their part in hastening, the defeat of aging, just by being enthusiastic about it.
Hanh Brown: [00:27:39] Absolutely. We are all elderly in the making and we should embrace life at any age.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:27:45] Exactly.
Hanh Brown: [00:27:45] Right. So share with us your online presence, how listeners can find you.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:27:49] Sure. Absolutely. So I think I am the only Aubrey degrade in the world. So I’m fairly easy to find online. And certainly if you go to our website contact form where you can write any questions that you don’t find the answers to elsewhere, I see the messages that come through that context.
Hanh Brown: [00:28:06] Thank you so much for your time.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey: [00:28:08] Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Hanh Brown: [00:28:12] Thank you so much for joining us
Personal Website: https://www.sens.org/
Company Website: https://www.mfoundation.org/