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For many of you reading this article, Dr Aubrey de Grey needs little or no introduction. However, for those less well acquainted with his work, he is one of the most prominent scientists in the field of rejuvenation biotechnology.

More than fifteen years ago, Aubrey took up the challenge of persuading the aging research community that aging was something in which medical science could and should intervene. Aubrey discovered plenty of evidence to show that aging is caused by a limited number of broad damage categories, seven in fact, which he has termed the seven deadly things.

Yet that evidence was mostly ignored by the research community at the time, while scientific discussion about the treatment of aging in public could risk losing funding and even end a researcher’s career, and the vast majority of aging research was nothing more than a process of gathering data.

No longer a taboo

However, thanks to iconoclasts like Dr de Grey, this situation has changed over the last few years. Discussions among researchers are now concerned with how aging can be treated, not if it can be treated.

Public discussion of the subject is no longer a seen as a taboo that risks essential research funding or even threatens to end a career. Numerous peer reviewed scientific publications openly explore aging, and discuss ideas about possible interventions that a mere decade ago were dismissed as impossible.

This radical change was to a great extent due to the work of scientists, such as Aubrey, and the efforts of advocates within the community who have patiently worked to change the popular view and steered the conversation towards considering aging as something we can do something about.

Aubrey created and leads the SENS Research Foundation, an organization that, along with its parent non-profit foundation Methuselah, has helped move the goal of rejuvenation technology closer to being a reality.

The tide is turning

Many years ago, for example, Aubrey proposed that removing senescent cells could be an approach to treating aging. This idea was dismissed by many in the research community only a decade ago, despite the evidence that senescent cells played a key role in aging.

Now this has changed, and therapies to clear senescent cells from old tissues have been demonstrated to improve health and even increase lifespan in mouse studies, and three biotech companies, Unity Biotechnology,  Oisin Biotechnologies and Cellage, are working on bringing these treatments to the clinic.

In addition to these groups, Major Mouse Testing Program is also conducting research in the field thanks to successful community fundraising last year on Lifespan.io and is exploring the effects of senolytics on stem cell populations. 

Dr. de Grey is often accused of encouraging fanciful ideas about living forever and immortality, something that dogs his every step and has for the last decade or more. In fact, Aubrey is far more grounded in reality and actual science. He is not a fan of the word immortality, because it gives a completely wrong idea about the field of rejuvenation biotechnology and its aims:

“The first thing I want to do is get rid of the use of this word “immortality”, because it’s enormously damaging, it is not just wrong, it is damaging. It means zero risk of death from any cause—whereas I just work on one particular cause of death, namely aging. It is also a distraction, it causes people to think this whole quest is morally ambiguous and technologically fanciful.” – Dr. Aubrey de Grey.

Conclusion

The world of medicine is changing and whilst it has been an uphill battle to bring about a change in how we view and treat age-related diseases, the tide has finally began to turn and we should remember the contribution trailblazers like Dr. Aubrey de Grey have made for scientific progress.

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About the author
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Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).
  1. January 22, 2017

    Fantastic website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about
    in this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get opinions from other experienced people that
    share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

    Bless you!

    • February 24, 2017

      https://discordapp.com/invite/ftSbffu. Sorry for posting the link twice. I had forgot to post this message as a reply so that you would be notified.

  2. February 24, 2017

    Hi, Testosteron steigern. Would you like to join our discord community? As an advocate for longevity/ Indefinite lifespans we know it can be difficult to find communities and people who share the same opinions as you. We have a lot of people in our community and we discuss a wide range of topics. We are professionally established and our goal is to spread awareness about longevity. Members of lifespan.io are apart of our community too.

    Here is our discord channel. We have active members and you can join discussions in voice chat.

    https://discordapp.com/invite/ftSbffu

    And here is a reddit forum about longevity

    https://www.reddit.com/r/longevity/

  3. April 1, 2017

    If it wasn’t for Aubrey’s work on the aging side of things, I do worry where we’d be right now.

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