Advances in Longevity Science and Anti-Aging Therapies

A National Library of Medicine report has revealed that 14.3% of the Korean population was aged 65 or older in 2018, and the percentage is projected to rise to 20.3% in 2027 and 34.4% in 2050. 

These numbers are alarming, and the Korean government has increased its attention to anti-ageing medicines due to its rapidly ageing population. Korea has an older society compared to other developed countries. As the population of Korea is ageing at a growing rate due to low fertility and a long life span, the problem of the elderly is becoming a common issue. 

The dream of eternal life, or at least a longer one, has led many scientists to conduct research on anti-ageing therapies. Researchers have already developed plenty of techniques to increase the lifespan of flies, rats, or maybe monkeys. Adapting these techniques to people seems like a next-level logical step. Delaying the ageing process even by a few years will prove to be socially beneficial as the population grows swiftly older across the world. 

Recent advancements in longevity, science, and medicine have led to research that explains ageing mechanisms, and anti-ageing medicines are emerging as a growing industry. The Allied Market Research group estimates that the total value of longevity and anti-senescence therapies was $ 25.1 billion in 2020, which is expected to reach $44.2 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent. Lately, many scientists across the world have focused on producing anti-ageing therapeutics that have dramatically improved human life expectancy. Kenyon C.J’s study on the Genetics Of Ageing talks about the animal models looking at dietary, genetics and pharmacological interventions that have depicted an increased lifespan. 

Many other studies have also analysed anti-ageing strategies like enhancement of autophagy, transfusion of young blood, elimination of senescent cells, stem cell therapy, intermittent fasting, physical exercise, adult neurogenesis boost, and antioxidant and herbal intake, which have emerged in recent years. Unlike animals, in humans, evidence has been garnered on the styles of life increasing the lifespan. 

Amazon founder and multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos hopes to conquer eternal life. As per the MIT Technology Review, Bezos has invested in Altos Labs, a mysterious new start-up pursuing biological programming, a technique discovered in 2006 by scientist Shinya Yamanaka to rejuvenate cells in the lab. The reports have suggested that the lab intends to apply the technology to entire animal bodies, ultimately halting biological ageing and extending the human lifespan. 

In 2016, a study conducted by Spanish biochemist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, who will be a part of Altos Labs, witnessed the technique reducing cellular and psychological signs of ageing in living mice and extending their lifespan by an average of six weeks. Many researchers hope that the promising results seen in the mice could also be translated to human beings someday. Other biotech companies, including AgeX Therapeutics, UK-based Shift Bioscience, and US drugmaker Life Biosciences, hope to prolong the human lifespan via cell reprogramming.

Another study on  218 adults published in Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the pharmaceutical company Novartis depicted that a compound called everolimus, similar to rapamycin (a drug that prevents kidney rejection in transplants), improved the effectiveness of flu shots in people over 65 years of age. As people age, their immune systems also weaken, so older people are more likely to get sick. The test revealed that the patients given everolimus had a more robust concentration of germ-fighting antibodies in their blood than others. Scientists interpreted it as a sign that the drug had rejuvenated the subjects’ immune systems. 

As per the report by P&S Intelligence, the global anti-ageing market is projected to skyrocket from around $191.5 billion currently to a whopping $421.4 billion by 2030. Since the industry is backed by wealthy and billionaire investors, the coming years seem to be promising for age reversal research. If a billionaire like Jeff Bezos believes that extended youth could someday be a reality and a breakthrough is possible in the coming decades, it will indicate a new paradigm in human health and an emerging market in life science with almost boundless potential. 

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