Below is a pointer to a recent radio interview with Craig Venter on the subject of his new venture Human Longevity, Inc. It is my belief that genetic data and analytics at the large scale will benefit medicine as a whole, the quality of cancer treatments especially, but the direct utility of this field to radical life extension is limited. Beyond a few narrow applications it does not have a large role in the creation of a toolkit of rejuvenation treatments, which is the best road ahead. On the other hand, it will be very helpful to attempts to identify longevity-associated genes and genetic variations, or slow aging via metabolic manipulation, but those have never been very plausible paths to greatly extend human life. Slowing aging is an expensive, slow road to a poor outcome: treatments that won't produce a large effect, have to be applied constantly over an entire life span, and which cannot greatly help anyone already old.
Aging. It's a universal disease, and an inescapable killer. As more of us escape traumatic deaths, life expectancy has grown dramatically in our time. As more and more individuals in the developed world manage to escape premature death, life expectancy has grown dramatically in our time. Diseases like cancer and dementia can be understood as consequences of a deteriorating body for reasons science still doesn't understand. We're exploring what might be considered the natural limits of the human body, and some believe that we can choose to push those limits out. What is a human lifespan? Is there any reason why we can't function biologically and mentally for 200 years?
One of the best known and respected genomic and synthetic life scientists, J. Craig Venter, says aging is a phenomenon we can control and arrest through genomic science. He believes that by aggressively accelerating human mapping we can better understand - and prevent - the consequences of human aging. His new project is called Human Longevity Inc., and the company aims to combine genetic and medical data at a massive scale to come up with new ways to predict, prevent and treat diseases of aging, such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
To crack the question of aging, Venter says his new project will connect layers of information that have never been put together, starting with the entire human genome and then layering in the genetic code of the microbes, in addition to measuring proteins and chemicals. "We'll be doing tests that people won't necessarily be able to get anywhere else, and combining that all together. We're trying to get the whole picture and create a database that can actually become really predictive of what's associated with disease and what's associated with health."