Not too long ago, Futures In Biotech interviewed a fascinating scientist, Dr. Cynthia Kenyon. The work she is famous for concerns the ancient problem of aging.
In 1993, Kenyon and colleagues’ discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of C. elegans sparked an intensive study of the molecular biology of aging. These findings have now led to the discovery that an evolutionarily conserved hormone signaling system controls aging in other organisms as well, including mammals.
Essentially, this gene mutation results in the body shifting its focus from growth to maintenance and repair. The shift not so much makes you live longer than makes you younger for longer. And if you are younger longer, you reduce the risk of encountering the diseases that beset old age. Ultimately, Dr. Cynthia Kenyon work will lead to a revaluation of aging. It will no longer be seen as a fixed fact, as something that can not be avoided, but as plastic. Old age will become a disease—a curable disease. The humans of the future nearby will laugh at our ideas about (acceptance of) aging. The humans of the future will admire the ancient Greeks. Their ideas will re-flower in this future world that has on its horizon the day when the old (the decedents of Cephalus) will be extinct.