Aubrey de Grey on the Engineering Philosophy of SENS

The core point of SENS, the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, is explained in this short interview: "Could you elaborate on the idea mentioned on SENS: that it isn't necessary to know, from an 'engineering' perspective, everything about the degenerative processes that occur at the cellular level in order to treat aging in the way you envision? ... The basic point we're making there is to contrast the regenerative approach with the more traditional idea of trying to make metabolism create molecular and cellular damage more slowly. In order to do the latter, we would need to understand our biology massively better than we do at present, so as to avoid creating unforeseen side-effects. By contrast, with the regenerative approach we don't need to know much about how damage comes about: it's enough just to characterize the damage itself, so as to figure out ways to repair it. We're effectively sidestepping our ignorance of metabolism. ... Rejuvenation biotechnologies are simply regenerative therapies that pre-empt the diseases and disabilities of old age. They consist of molecular, cellular or whole-organ interventions that restore the structure of the target to something like how it was in early adulthood. This includes a variety of stem cell therapies, and also tissue engineering to create artificial organs. At SENS Foundation we don't work much on those types of therapy, because they're being very capably pursued elsewhere; rather, we focus on the more neglected but equally vital components of this 'divide-and-conquer' approach to combating aging. For example, we have a large project aimed at eliminating 'molecular garbage' from cells - indigestible material whose accumulation leads to diseases like atherosclerosis and macular degeneration - by introducing non-human enzymes to augment the body's natural ability to break down unwanted by-products of metabolism."


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