Will The Biomedical Technologies of 2030 Grant Another 20 Years of Life?

Cards on the table: the wrong side of 40 looms for some of us. The present regulatory systems for medical development in the US and most other regions contributing meaningfully to progress don't look likely to become any less oppressive in the years ahead. It presently takes ten to twenty years to move a good research result out of trials and into the clinics, and that time frame is largely based on organizational activities and regulatory make-work that won't be speeded up by ongoing advances in biotechnology. Furthermore, the regulatory environment destroys or prevents many beneficial development programs by making them unprofitable.

This means that present glimmers of medical technologies capable of repairing specific forms of biochemical damage, such as work on mitochondrial repair, will most likely not be available for general use until people like me are hitting 60. They won't ever be available for healthy people "aging normally" inside US borders absent a revolution in the way the FDA operates. The same goes for organ replacement, other forms of growing any new tissue you like to order, rebooting the immune system, and so on.

Here is today's speculation: will these technologies of 2030 be good enough to grant an additional 20 years of life? How much certainty will there be by that time that these technologies will extend life significantly in humans? These are not questions that can be answered with any degree of certainty - you can only speculate.

People of my generation are most likely not going to get two shots at this. If the technology of 2030 isn't up to the task, then we don't plausibly get to wait around to 2050 and age 80. The trouble with being 80 is that (a) many people don't in fact make it that far, even allowing for a continuing upward trend in life expectancy, and (b) you may no longer be robust enough to have a good chance of surviving early rejuvenation therapies. The clock is ticking.

I have said in the past that, from a pure research timeline perspective, by 2040 we'll plausibly have all the technologies needed to repair and reverse aging. Unfortunately when we look beyond the laboratory, the field is strewn with roadblocks of legislation, slowing everything down. Even the time taken for new businesses to raise capital, try, fail, and try again is less than the delays imposed by the ball and chain of regulation.