Jim Mellon and Al Chalabi are back with another successful venture into the world of science investment. Following their acclaimed 2012 book “Cracking the code”, whose spotlight was on the life sciences industry, Juvenescence takes us on a compelling journey through the dawning market of longevity and rejuvenation biotechnology, which the authors predict will be the biggest “money fountain” to hit the financial world in the coming years.
Juvenescence is a visionary book, debunking the sometimes questionable past of longevity research and steering us towards a ‘brave new world’ in which advances in medicine are already leading to clinical trials whose aim is to extend human lifespan to unprecedented levels.
Mellon and Chalabi come across as eloquent devotees of cold, hard science, and for a book targeted primarily at investors, biologists and experts will be hard-pressed to find inaccuracies in the many heavily technical sections. The authors explain the science of aging in an engaging and accessible manner, bridging the gap between the lab and the public with ease and tact. They employ elegant metaphors to explain complex processes as well as some light-hearted ones, including the “Deadly Quintet”, which reads more like the title of a long-lost Tarantino film, or the “Actuarial Escape Velocity”, a reference to the controversial “Longevity Escape Velocity” promoted by Aubrey de Grey. Mellon and Chalabi use state-of-the-art research whenever possible, with recent, fresh-from-the-lab studies making up the majority of sources.
In a way, Juvenescence feels like getting two books for the price of one. Whether you are a businessman looking for a new venture or a young researcher wishing to learn more about the biology of aging, this book offers an invaluable treasure trove of information. On one hand, investors wishing to get a grasp on the market need only look at the portfolios at the end of the book, which contains a short introduction to each company, including market valuation, and contains handy recommendations on investment opportunities. There is even a practical guide to key opinion leaders and relatable bite-size information on their affiliated companies, making Juvenescence an up-to-date ‘who’s who’ guide to longevity.
On the other hand, scientists and the curious alike will enjoy the scientific tone and conscientious detail of Juvenescence. Written in an accessible language complete with a full glossary of technical terms, Mellon and Chalabi give us the lowdown on CRISPR, telomeres, GDF-11, hormone replacement, Myc, and many more, as well as some lesser-known genes, such as KL and INDY.
Experts on longevity may find that the section on theories of aging falls somewhat short of the mark, however, particularly the focus on evolutionary theories of aging, which comes across as outdated. The theories of aging seem picked and mixed about almost at random, as do the explanatory boxes in the book, while some important hallmarks of aging, such as nutrient sensing and cellular communication, are left almost entirely out of the picture. That being said, Juvenescence offers the reader a reliable, if sometimes surprisingly technical, overview of the contemporary landscape of aging research.
Finally, Juvenescence includes a discerning practical guide to personal longevity for anyone looking to get started on the path to a longer, healthier life, including diet and exercise tips which have long been shared by the longevity community. Mellon and Chalabi demystify “superfoods” and “wonder vitamins”, and they are careful to point out the potentials and risks in equal measure, giving us a no-frills account of the best longevity practices without the hype.
All in all, Juvenescence is a well-researched bird’s-eye view of the latest advances in medical science, and, although hardly exhaustive, gives us a generous glimpse into this fascinating field. Mellon and Chalabi literally ‘look forward’ to an age when biomedical advances will render us young, healthy, and – if we follow their advice – very rich!
The book is available in the US at Amazon and at www.harriman-house.com and in the UK on amazon and on their website here. There is also a Facebook page supporting the book here if you wish to keep up with the latest news from Jim and Al.