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Antiaging Research Priorities [was Re: Major Criticisms of

Tom Matthews tmatth at netcom.ca
Tue Sep 22 18:58:07 EST 1998

James wrote:
> > In your examples if the treatment used allows a person to live significantly
> > longer than 122 years then the treatment has altered the basic genetic
> > control of the aging process and you will probably be receiving a Nobel
> > Prize.
> >
> > If, however, the treatment only improves the likelihood of living up to 122
> > years in a healthier body then you are increasing life expectancy and
> > improving the quality of life.  You'll probably get rich but forget the
> > Nobel.
> >
> > James and others feel that we should prioritize and concentrate our efforts
> > on the latter research areas in the hopes that by increasing life expectancy
> > by 20 or more years we might then be around when the the research into the
> > genetic control of life span finally achieves results.
> >
> > I think the genetic control of aging and lifespan has already been described
> > and that research efforts to develop therapies based on this discovery should
> > be our number one priority.
> Just one comment:  I'm still all for genetic therapies.  Obviously you've got to
> be working on both in order to derive any benefit from your extra 20 years.

I think James and I are very close on this whole issue (except perhaps
that I give human CR a much better chance to increase average both
average healthy, and maximum lifespan by 20 years).

I will repeat the similarity I made before. One purpose of CR for young
to middle aged people with respect to immortality is very similar to the
purpose of cyronics for everyone. If they work, both will get you to a
future time when life/vitality can be further extended/restored. Just as
I think that it is reasonable that suspended animation can be perfected
within 10-20 years (assuring that cryonics *can* work) and that this
will induce many more people to elect it instead of burial or cremation,
so too I think that CR can be shown to work and more reasonable ways of
gaining its benefits can be developed within the next 10 years. Both of
these should be our top priorities as stop-gap methods for those who
will not survive without them.

I am *not* saying telomeric research should be stopped or even slowed
down. If there is a quick and easy way to prove that telomere shortening
effects general system aging (and not simply causes cessation of cell
division) then I would agree those experiments should have a very high
priorities. Until that is proven, however, other telomeric research with
respect to aging is premature and wasteful (to the purpose of the main
goal of staying alive), IMO. If/when telomere shortening wer/is proven
conclusively to affect general system aging, then you would/will find me
at the forefront of those promoting more telomeric research. 

Tom Matthews
The LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION - http://www.lef.org - 800-544-4440 
A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension
of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research,
innovative ideas and practical methods.
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