Who Wants to Live Forever?

Paula LabrotBy Paula Labrot

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Who Wants to Live Forever?
Freddy Mercury on the stairway to Heaven.
There is no doubt that modern medicine has made stunning progress in the treatment of previously hopeless medical conditions. It is predicted that anyone born after 1970 may have a good chance of living up to 120 years! According to futurist Michael McQueen, writing for nib.com, “…it is the titans of the tech world who are perhaps making the largest investments and biggest bets on assuring future life expectancy is greater than it is now.” It is their research that is unlocking the secrets of future immortality. Rejuvenation Research Some of the top players in rejuvenation research are familiar names. Jeff Bezos of Amazon has invested in Altos Labs, a biotech company investigating rejuvenation techniques at the cellular level. According to Dr. Alfredo Carpeneti, writing for iflscience.com, Anthony Steele, author of “Ageless,” writes, “Cellular reprogramming is one of the wildest and most exciting ideas in ageing biology right now— just four genes, originally uncovered trying to understand stem cells, seem capable of turning back the biological arrow of time is pretty amazing.” Carpeneti reports, “The company has not made any announcements yet, but it has raised $270 million dollars and attracted quite the talent from across the globe thanks to extremely generous salaries. The scientific goal is to master the ability to perform cellular reprogramming. In the specific, it’s about understanding how cells age and how to actually turn the clock back on that process.” Alphabet, the umbrella company of Google, has invested $730 million into a secretive company called Calico with the mission of extending lifespans. Calico hires outstanding researchers at salaries of one million dollars a year to understand biological pathways of aging and disease. These researchers work with beyond state-of-the-art technology and advanced computing technologies in a culture that supports innovation, creativity and collaboration. “Our labs seek out their own experiments and big questions and are encouraged to build and harness new technologies and tools that can support the entire scientific community.” According to nib.com, “Larry Ellison, the founding chief executive of Oracle, has given an estimated $45 million annually for over a decade to fight ageing. Paypal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, has donated $6 million to the Sens Foundation which researches ageing and longevity.” Then there is, of course, Elon Musk’s neuro-link research in which a chip implanted in the brain holds “promise for the restoration of sensory and motor function and the treatment of neurological disorders.” Good-bye paralysis and Alzheimer’s. Are You Rich Enough To Live Forever? Paul Tullis, writing for Town and Country Magazine, reports, “Human Longevity, Inc. is a La Jolla startup co-founded in 2015 by J. Craig Venter, who spent $100 million becoming, in 2000, the first person to sequence a human genome with private funding. At the company’s clinic, Health Nucleus, you can get your own genome sequenced; a full-body MRI to look for cancer; microbiomial and metabalomic profiles; a neurological exam; a bone-density scan; a body fat measurement more accurate than the Bod Pod’s; and a 4-D picture of the inside of your heart. It costs $25,000. It goes without saying that no health insurance covers it.” What this does is allow you to discover disease in its infancy and intervene proactively. At Health Nucleus, “everything we do is in service of helping you live a healthier, longer life. We’ve designed a leading- edge, precision health care program using today’s best technology to detect and help preempt cancer, cardiac, metabolic and neurodegenerative disease, and more. Our world-class physicians and genomic scientists provide an exceptional level of insight and care to customize a program based on your data, so you can be radically proactive about your health and longevity…. Prevention is the cornerstone of optimal health. By analyzing over 150 gigabytes of your body’s unique data, we identify your risks and leverage your personal strength. We don’t just want to see your health improve, we want to partner with you to see it flourish.” Don’t worry. Remember when flat screen TVs came out, they were $20,000 plus? The rich got them first, but, then, we all got them. Same will happen with the longevity research…. trickle-down immortality is on its way. Oh, Freddy Mercury… As I am writing, I have Queen on, singing the age old question, “Who Wants to Live Forever?” It is poignant. I sure wish Freddy could have stretched out his time with us. I am also mindful of my sweet, remarkable Mom in the next room, who celebrated 100 years of life on Sunday, January 30, here in Topanga. If I ask Mimi, if she wants to live forever, she rolls her eyes, looks to the horizon and tells me…No. Then again, if she could still go dancing, I am not sure what her answer would be. Vamos a ver!
Paula Labrot

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February 4, 2022