With the support of well-known billionaires, venture capitalists, and the US National Institute on Aging’s $3 billion annual budget, a number of research centers and biotech companies in the US have focused their attention on the field of anti-aging.
There is no magic pill that can increase a person’s life expectancy from 80 to 150 years, but scientists say that in the future, a 10-20% increase in life expectancy after 80 years is possible.
Scientists are studying ways to extend the lifespan of humans with drugs such as metformin and rapamycin, which have already been shown to increase lifespan in animals. Both of these drugs target molecular processes associated with cell aging.
Another drug – Senolytics – removes aging cells from the body. Senescent cells are old cells that accumulate in tissues and damage other cells but do not die. They lead to cognitive impairment, weakness and lack of physical stability.
Scientists are working on another approach, called cellular reprogramming, that will reverse aging and restore function to younger cells.
However, there are a number of obstacles for technical, regulatory, economic and social reasons. For example, a drug that a healthy population will take for a long time must pass a high safety bar. But getting approval for such drugs is difficult because the US Food and Drug Administration does not consider aging to be a disease that should be treated. Researchers need to quantify whether a drug improves health or prolongs survival for a particular age-related disease.