May 5, 2017

Bottlenecks to the Development of Rejuvenation Biotechnology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

What are the bottlenecks in developing a rejuvenation biotechnology industry? LEAF takes a look at some of the main problems we are facing in creating that industry.

One of the most frequent questions we get from the general public is when will rejuvenation therapies arrive? Whilst young people can wait for a few more decades, those in middle age are much more concerned. According to statistics, new drug development takes 17 years on average, but the countdown only begins at the moment when the underlying mechanisms are investigated well enough – which cannot be said about the mechanisms of aging.

We have made great progress in understanding aging in the last decade thanks to the march of technology. One solution to an aging process is entering human clinical trials this year: a therapy to remove aged damaged cells to promote tissue repair and reduce chronic inflammation. This is of course fantastic news but progress is still too slow.

So what is holding back the pace of the research on aging and what we can do to foster progress?

Research on aging began a long time ago. Back in 1900s the pioneer immunologist Elie Metchnikoff, vice-president of Pasteur Institute in Paris, wrote: “Aging is a disease and it should be treated like any other”. His work helped to shape interest in aging as a manageable problem. The first attempts to extend healthy life in animals by evidence-based medical means were undertaken in the middle of the 20th century. The most remarkable progress however has been made in the last 20 years, when the field of genetics finally blossomed. But the solutions that might prevent or significantly postpone age-related diseases are not available yet. Some might think it was a conspiracy, but there is actually a much more simple explanation: there are many factors that are holding back progress.

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