Five years from now, it will be possible to fly to an overseas clinic and undergo a treatment that will clear out between a quarter and half of the senescent cells in your body. That will to some degree damp down fibrosis, restore tissue elasticity, reduce inflammation, reduce calcification of blood vessels, and in addition improve many other measures of health that are impacted by the normal progression of aging. In short you will walk away a little rejuvenated, literally: one of the root causes of aging will be turned back for some years, perhaps decades, however long it takes for the removed senescent cells to emerge once again. Given the present cost of senolytic drug candidates, varying from a few dozen to a few thousand dollars per dose depending on whether or not they are at present mass manufactured, I think that the likely initial cost of treatment five years from now will be somewhere in the $5,000 to $25,000 range. Higher would seem unlikely, given that this is a competitive area of development already, and lower will probably have to wait for bigger players to enter the game in regulated markets. That cost will then fall as availability spreads.
Senolytics are just the start. Five years to a decade after the first candidate therapy for breaking glucosepane cross-links in humans, that treatment will also be available to anyone with the necessary funds put aside. It will also turn back the clock, removing some portion of one of the root causes of aging. Tissue elasticity will be restored, hypertension controlled as arteries become more flexible, and scores of other consequences of cross-linking reduced in their impact. That first therapy could emerge in the laboratories this year or at any time thereafter; a number of groups are working on it. There are a range of other rejuvenation treatments and compensatory therapies at similar points, on the verge in one way or another. Gene therapies to boost muscle generation, or dramatically reduce blood cholesterol. Approaches to clear harmful amyloids from old tissue. The next twenty years will bring numerous opportunities to benefit for anyone willing organize their own treatments via medical tourism, and who happens to know enough about the field to pick out the metal from the dross.
Therapies are not free, however. Funds are needed. Thus anyone much over the age of 30 who has an interest in this field should be saving more aggressively than he or she is at present. Live more frugally. Put more aside. On one chart is the ascending curve of savings and safe investments, on another chart the descending curve of cost of therapies. The objective for most of us is to make those lines cross sooner rather than later. If you dent your savings in a way that pushes out the achievement of traditional retirement goals by a few years in order to undergo an effective rejuvenation therapy, I think that puts you ahead of the game. Besides, traditional retirement isn't going to look very traditional any more by the time most of the younger folk in the audience get there. The aging of the population ensures that more people will simply remain working because there will be more work to accomplish than young people available to accomplish it. The advent of rejuvenation therapies will mean that older people can in fact continue working. And not just working: living a life that is worth it; interesting and active. Rejuvenation means additional health and vigor, not just extra years.
The rest of this century will be a grand adventure. The course of a human life is no longer planned and plotted and set in stone as it was for your grandparents. Medical technology, the development of rejuvenation therapies, will break us from tradition and the limits that aging places on the human condition. The traditional ways and means, the passing of generations, the declining trajectory of old age, are on the way out, fast or slow, sooner or later. We'll all be making it up as we go, exploring entirely new territory when it comes to the manners and organization of society. In the early days, however, only the prepared will find it easy to hitch a ride. So don't be unprepared. Everyone in the younger half of life has years ahead in which to save funds while keeping a weather eye on the state of research and medical tourism. Having a nest egg put aside will make all the difference when it comes time to strike out, repair the damage that aging has inflicted upon your health, and stride forth into a far better future than was offered to our ancestors.