ELIXIR OF LIFE’ PILL WILL LET US LIVE UNTIL 150
Drugs for the body to repair itself and new stem cell therapies could be on the market in five years
Thursday October 20,2011
By Jo Willey
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A WONDER pill letting us live to the ripe old age of 150 and beyond may be available within five years.
Thanks to advances in medicine, lifestyle and public health, many people in Britain expect to reach their centenary.
Now Professor Peter Smith of New South Wales University in Australia claims “elixir of life” drugs will not only help us live longer, but healthier too.
He said: “The aim is not just to eke out extra existence but to facilitate a longer healthy life. We just don’t want to live longer, we want to live longer well. And these drugs will help with the regeneration of cells, regeneration of processes in the body, so we expect people will live well, much longer.”
Drugs for the body to repair itself and new stem cell therapies could be on the market in five years.
However, Prof Smith recognised that longevity would raise serious issues for society. “People aren’t going to want to retire at 65 and spend many, many decades sitting at home,” he said.
Our bodies have an extraordinary ability to repair themselves
Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, also foresees people starting second careers at 65, in knowledge-based jobs, rather than physical ones. But she said tackling dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, needed to be a priority, “otherwise the social and economic implications could potentially be catastrophic.”
Professor David Sinclair, an Australian expert in ageing at Harvard University, said a network of genes is responsible for the pace of ageing.
He said: “Our bodies have an extraordinary ability to repair themselves.”
Professor Sinclair has shown that resveratrol, a plant compound found in red wine, can extend the lifespan of yeast, worms, fruit flies and fat mice, by activating proteins called sirtuins. “We’re seeing the beginning of technology that could one day allow us to reach 150.” he said.