London’s GIANT 2016, an event showcasing the leading technologies, innovations and future opportunities in health technology, opened its conference series with one of the field’s most notable characters.
Aubrey de Grey is an English biomedical gerontologist, currently the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation. He is also editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging and co-author of Ending Aging.
Known for his view that medical technology may enable human beings alive today to live indefinitely, Aubrey’s lecture opened by addressing attitudes to aging and how the common acceptance that age-related degeneration is an inevitability that we must simply accept as part of being alive. He argues that, like any complex machine, the human body might be spared the scrapyard if adequate efforts are put towards maintenance. And by maintenance De Grey does not mean the slight diet changes that provide a slight boost to longevity, but rather fully repairing damage to the entire body at a cellular level.
Explaining the theory of how a gerontologic approach would enable humans to live for an indefinite period, Aubrey went on to share his frustrations as to the lack of progress that has been made in this area whilst geriatric medicine, focused upon managing degeneration and death, receives huge sums of money every year yet provides only marginal benefits to life extension.
Aubrey pushed for a combination of research, investment in research and a change in attitudes if we are to begin reaching “escape velocity” in the next 20 years.