The Methuselah Manifesto

Photo via flickr by Pete Reed

Extreme human life extension will become a possibility within a couple of decades according to Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich and a group of scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries who convened to develop a scientific and business strategy to make longevity possible—an effort dubbed the Manhattan Beach Project.

Tech entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil opened the conference with a virtual presentation on exponential technology trends that are bringing the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity ever closer. Kurzweil asserts that “We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.” This has been labeled by life-extension expert Aubrey de Grey as ‘longevity escape velocity.’

Several science advancements are underway. William Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences (motto “Cure Aging or Die Trying”), disclosed his company’s project to identify compounds that lengthen telomeres. Telomeres are repeated sequences of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes to keep them from unraveling and to keep them from binding to other chromosomes. At conception, telomeres are about 15,000 repeats long. Each time a cell divides it loses about 100 repeats, growing ever shorter. When the repeats get short enough, cells generally receive a signal that tells them to die. Andrews argues that telomeres control aging in cells and thus control aging in us.

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