How Aging in the Future Might Just be a Thing of the Past
Aging is one factor of life that most people have accepted will never go away. Geneticist J. Craig Venter and a handful of other scientists hope to change that inevitability. Venter has launched a new company known as Human Longevity, Inc. and will be using every resource available to gather as much human genetic information as possible. The goal is to create the ultimate anti-aging solution by curing cancer, dementia, and other health problems that come with old age.
Compiling Human Genomes
The core of Venter’s work involves using a powerful supercomputer to capture and cross-reference thousands of human genomes per year. The initial startup goal is 40,000 human genomes each year, which will eventually rise to a target number of 100,000 genomes annually. The genetic data analyzed will be from both healthy and sick people. Theoretically, the differences between the sick and the healthy could allow scientists to figure out why some people get these diseases as they age and some people do not. From there, isolating and treating the age-related illness would allow people to live much longer and happier lives, making many illnesses a thing of the past.
The Man behind Human Longevity
Human Longevity, Inc. was founded by J. Craig Venter, who has quite a bit of experience in both the human genome and anti-aging research. Venter and his colleagues earned quite a bit of fame by building an artificial bacterium which has been called the first synthetic life form. The entrepreneur also earned some attention when he had his own company compete directly with the Human Genome Project. That competition ended with both groups producing similar results at around the same time in the year 2000. Ultimately, this led to the cracking of the human genome, which has opened the door to cures and treatments for many different diseases. It has also made Venter’s current goal a possibility.
Competition on the Horizon
As with his work on cracking the human genome, Venter will be facing some competition in his current project. This time, the competition comes from a variety of different areas, as there are many people interested in making sure that old age and the diseases associated with it disappear in the future. One such company comes from the search engine giant Google, which launched a group called Calico with the express purpose of developing life-extending technologies. Similarly, executives from Facebook, Apple, and Google have created a prize that is to be awarded to anybody who comes through with a breakthrough in anti-aging research. Clearly, human longevity is a big business.
Extending the human lifespan is something that almost every human being is in support of. An elimination of aging has been a fantasy for centuries, but only recently is medical technology reaching the point where it is a true possibility. For Venter and his investors, the day when humans don’t have to worry about illnesses caused by old age is hopefully right around the corner.
Image Source: Flickr/Creative Commons/Alma Gamil
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