Google Will Extend Your Life Beyond 120?

Is ageing just a medical problem waiting to be solved?

Well, with advancements in medicine and science happening in leaps and bounds, the quest to live longer might just become a reality in the future.

The human race has already extended its lifespan by 20 years in the past century. However, we still lose a large number of loved ones due to age-related diseases, which is also a remunerative loss to society as a whole. Google has embarked on a courageous venture to unlock the secret to slowing or reversing ageing. The giant tech has invested its financial, tech, and creative resources to launch Calico (California Life Company), a biotech company.

Google’s quest is a modern adaptation of tapping the age-old dream, the fountain of youth. Though a thrilling excitement surrounds Calico, its mission remains focused, on “to hack the code of life” and increase its lifespan by 20 to 100 years. The company is focused on its research to reverse engineer the biology that controls lifespan. With a huge stockpile of Google’s cash at its disposal, Calico will never run short of resources.

Google Will Extend Your Life Beyond 120? » VisualWeb

Why isn’t more funding available?

As per statistics, the budget for researching reverse ageing has been estimated at $3 billion annually. This is potentially a very small amount in terms of government funding for health research. For a comparative analysis, this cost is 40% less than funds spent on cancer research each year.

Several global corporate organizations are well-positioned to fund longevity research. Although, the long-term vision seems missing. And in the eyes of the government, ageing is not a disease, but rather a natural phenomenon. The National Institute on ageing(NIA) is conducting research focused on projects like age-related Alzheimer’s disease. Also, many types of research are directed toward the treatment for combating the cosmetic effects of ageing.

The paradox here is that the venture capitalists and the NIA are interested in ‘improving’ the later years rather than adding more years to your life. They find the research on longevity unfeasible and unproven. It is vital to understand that just like any deadly disease, ageing needs a cure, a ‘regenerative medicine’ to add more years to your lifespan.

Now the intrinsic question,

Why Google?

Google backing Calico for a longevity project did come as a surprise to many. But if you analyse it carefully, the connection makes sense.

Who better than Google in compiling various forms of data? An extensive search database would be a reference point for further longevity research, including genome mapping. This database will include the genes of supercentenarians to understand what makes a longer and healthier life.

As a part of its ambitious longevity project, Calico hired Cynthia Kenyon, an acclaimed scientist whose work includes genetically producing roundworms that live 6 times longer than normal. Kenyon envisages applying her research to people someday.

What the future holds for Anti-ageing Research

Without robust government funding, accumulating a sum of $3 billion in annual investments seems a bleak possibility. The hope lies with wealthy corporates who can step up to aid this cause, either for the sake of their health or for charities. While huge sums of charities are being donated for specific diseases, very few are directed towards benefitting the entire human race.

Final Thoughts

Google’s foray into the biotech arena may just act as the stimulant that encourages the government and wealthy organizations to fund research on age-reversal. There is also a revenue perspective. Former CEO Larry Page stated that the company plans spend on long-term rather than incremental R&D.  With the regenerative medicine industry valued at $1.6 billion, there is a lot of money involved here.

Regenerative medicine would not just combat ageing, it will substantially reduce the occurrence of age-related diseases. Aubrey de Grey, chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation, who presented a TED Talk on anti-aging, rightfully stated that we spend enormous sums on keeping people alive in a bad state of health.

The thought of living to 100 years and beyond is interesting, isn’t it?

The privileged already have the option of cryonics, to preserve their bodies after death in the hope that future technology will revive them. Optimistic research is on its way!

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