I am far from the only person out there who sees the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) research programs as the best and most clear path to lengthening healthy human life spans - including our own, by reversing the course of aging should these new medical technologies be developed rapidly enough.
A great deal has changed over the past twenty years when it comes to the prospects for longevity-enhancing therapies. The topic wasn't even discussed openly in the mainstream research community back then, and to talk about extending life was a usually a quick ticket to losing your funding for the study of aging. Those days are gone, thankfully, due to a combination of activism and demonstrations of extended lifespans in a range of laboratory species.
Still, time is ticking, and it remains the case that there is no massive program underway to treat, prevent, and reverse human aging. SENS offers the possibility of rejuvenation biotechnologies arriving twenty years from the point at which it becomes that massive program, but as of today it is only funded with a few million dollars in philanthropic donations each year. That is more than zero, which is where we were ten years ago, but it is a long way from what is needed for best possible speed.
When I was in high school in the 1990s, as I recall, a segment of one of our classes focused on aging and lasted for a few weeks. Our teacher left us with the impression that aging was impossibly mysterious and probably always would be. He seemed to take a somber tone when talking about it. I wish I would have kept thinking about it then. I wish my science teacher, and science teachers around the world, had possessed more scientific and critical-thinking courage to instill more of a drive in us students to take the challenge on, daunting though they were convinced it was in those days.
[Over the past two decades] the reality of what humanity knows about aging and its surrounding issues has been changed through a multitude of scientific insights, from a variety of researchers and organizations around the world. The clearest of the ways forward, leading the charge, is the concept of eradicating the damage that is building up in our bodies and killing us, as outlined and taken on by SENS.
Regardless of which paths we take, one way or another we have to go through, around, over, under, or some other way to obviate the effects of this damage. And yes, we do have to do it. Life is far too mysterious and incredible to coddle the grave and yawn at the future. If there were semi-understandable reasons to excuse away potential paths and hypotheses to defeating aging in the 1990s and before, the first decade of the 21st century has been the herald of a new age in understanding of aging. It has been over a decade now since there was an excuse for teachers to discourage students from thinking about cures for aging. We can't accept procrastination as an answer.