The first, narrowly focused rejuvenation therapies based on repair of the cell and tissue damage that causes aging already exist. They are entering trials, they are under development in companies. Senolytic therapies to clear senescent cells will be a going concern in just a few years: the drug candidates are cheap, people are running small trials funded by philanthropists, and others are self-experimenting. The first forms of treatment capable of turning back numerous aspects of aging in humans to a large enough degree to be worth it are nearly here. Unless your remaining life expectancy is in fact only a few years, then you have every chance of being able to benefit from at least the first generation of these treatments. There is no excuse for turning away and shrugging, telling yourself that this is science fiction, the medicine of the next generation, out of reach and therefore not worth your support. That is all false.
Given that up to the beginning of the twentieth century many of us succumbed to disease at an early age, it should be no surprise that living a long life is still seen today as something akin to winning the lottery. Even when confronted with the galloping pace of scientific advances in human longevity, our historical sensibilities have led us to take a defeatist stance towards the subject: "Even if longevity interventions become available during my lifetime, I am already too late to take advantage of them, so why bother?" Indeed, for so long as tangible rejuvenation therapies do not become available, we will feel validated in our pragmatism.
Today, however, rejuvenation biotechnology is far from a fictional dream: it is a quickly growing field in which advances which may increase the lifespan of you and your children to well over a hundred years are already making their way to the clinic, and this is something we can no longer ignore. Every reality begins with a dream. Only 114 years ago, the Wright brothers made the first powered flight a reality, and since then we have taken to the skies, orbited the earth, and landed a man on the moon. Today, most of us will have flown in an airplane, and have ceased to see this as exceptional. It would be short-sighted to think that the same will not happen with new technologies such as cryonics or rejuvenation.
In the last year alone, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of senolytic drugs, that aim at clearing senescent cells, under development, with companies such as Unity Biotechnology recently raising more than 100 million dollars to push these therapies through the US regulatory process and into the clinic. Last year, scientists found a way to cheaply synthesize glucosepane, a key molecule thought to be a crucial factor in aging. A drug which clears glucosepane from the body is now being developed by the Spiegel Lab at Yale University, among others, and the first potential drug candidates are projected to be available within the next 10 years. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. At this point, it is indeed challenging to continue to pull the wool over our eyes. Not only are these therapies likely to become available in our lifetime, but it seems many of them will be reaching the market within the next decade.
However, reflecting on the feasibility and the desirability of bringing aging under comprehensive medical control inevitably demands us to question many of our preconceived assumptions regarding what is possible, what is or isn't good for us, and what is acceptable. Disputing what one had long thought to be true - or at least learned to accept - is never without effort or discomfort, and this is especially true when we consider that many of us still see aging as an inevitable, perhaps even necessary, fact of life. It should thus come as no surprise that one of the most common responses to the thought of robust rejuvenation is that of neglect; in other words: why concern ourselves with something that might come to pass only after we are long gone?
Yet our actions today have the possibility, for the first time in history, to bring a profound change to the number of people who may live long enough to benefit from rejuvenation. By acting to speed up the development of the first therapies in the coming years, we ensure that a large majority of people alive today are granted the opportunity to take advantage of them; conversely, our inaction will lead to a slowing down of the pace of progress, making the impossibility of robust rejuvenation a self-fulfilling prophecy.