IEET > Fellows > Aubrey de Grey > HealthLongevity > Innovation
The Natural Biogerontology Portfolio: Defeating Aging” as a Multi-stage Ultra-grand Challenge

Abstract: The early days of biogerontology were blessed with an undiluted forthrightness concerning the field’s ultimate goals, epitomized by its leaders. Luminaries from Pearl to Comfort to Strehler declared the desirability of eliminating aging with no more diffidence than that with which today’s oncologists aver that they seek a cure for cancer. The field’s subsequent retreat from this position garnered a modicum of political acceptability and public financial support, but all biogerontologists agree that this fell, and continues to fall, vastly short of the funding that the prospect of even a modest postponement of aging would logically justify. The past 20 years’ discoveries of life-extending genetic manipulations in model organisms have weakened the argument that a policy of appeasement of the public’s ambivalence about defeating aging is our only option; some of the biogerontologists responsible for these advances have espoused views of which our intellectual forefathers would be proud, without noticeably harming their own careers. With the recent emergence of a detailed, ambitious, but practical roadmap for the comprehensive defeat of aging, this process has moved further: our natural and most persuasive public stance is, more than ever, to reembrace the same unassailable logic that served pioneering biogerontologists perfectly well. In particular, we are in a position to explain that the disparate strands of contemporary biomedical gerontology are not in conflict, but rather that they constitute a portfolio of approaches with a range of potential efficacies and degrees of difficulty of implementation, which can save more lives together than any can save individually, and all of which thus merit intensive pursuit.

Aubrey de Grey Ph.D. is a biomedical gerontologist, a Fellow of the IEET, the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation and editor of Rejuvenation Research.

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