Today, we have another video from our Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 conference. This particular video shows one of our panels, “The Current State of Aging Research”, which featured Dr. Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation, Dr. Vadim Gladyshev of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Oliver Medvedik of Lifespan.io and the Cooper Union, and Steven A. Garan of UC Berkeley.
The panel began with a question asking each of the panelists how aging research now compares to when each of them started in the field. Given the caliber of these researchers and how long they have all been working in the field, this proved to be quite an informative starting point for the ensuing discussion.
During the panel, Dr. Vadim Gladyshev presented the grounded view that while we have made some great progress in the last few years and have a much better understanding of aging and many great tools that can help progress, we have a long road ahead of us before we can fully understand aging. He believes that true rejuvenation is a while away yet, although he suggests that we can probably increase human lifespan by 20-30% with what we have demonstrated in other species and can apply to humans.
It is certainly true that we have a long journey ahead of us to end aging, but this does not mean that there will be no progress soon, and it could be that we will see incremental increases in lifespan as the technologies trickle into being in the next decade or two. This is good news, as this buys us more time to work on the rest of the puzzle and is consistent with what some people describe as longevity escape velocity, a hypothetical situation in which life expectancy is increased faster than the passing of time. In other words, the arrival of new technologies would push life expectancy further out as they arrive, allowing a person to ride the wave and remain alive for decades longer by benefiting from the incremental arrival of new therapies.
We also asked the researchers what technology would offer the biggest bang for the buck in terms of longevity. AI, next-generation biomarkers of aging, and the growth of computing power were proposed to be major catalysts towards progress. The ability of AI and computer processing could potentially allow us to more easily collate, correlate, and analyze the 20,000 or more papers a year about aging and help to eliminate bias and other issues, letting us reach correct conclusions more quickly.
The panel explored various topics, proved to be an interesting combination of viewpoints from researchers using different approaches, and ended with a Q&A round in which the audience had the opportunity to ask the researchers questions.
We will be publishing more of the videos from the conference soon and you can find more videos from the event here.