The scientific quest for lasting youth: prospects for curing aging

Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Oct;17(5):458-67. doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1580.


People have always sought eternal life and everlasting youth. Recent technological breakthroughs and our growing understanding of aging have given strength to the idea that a cure for human aging can eventually be developed. As such, it is crucial to debate the long-term goals and potential impact of the field. Here, I discuss the scientific prospect of eradicating human aging. I argue that curing aging is scientifically possible and not even the most challenging enterprise in the biosciences. Developing the means to abolish aging is also an ethical endeavor because the goal of biomedical research is to allow people to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. There is no evidence, however, that we are near to developing the technologies permitting radical life extension. One major difficulty in aging research is the time and costs it takes to do experiments and test interventions. I argue that unraveling the functioning of the genome and developing predictive computer models of human biology and disease are essential to increase the accuracy of medical interventions, including in the context of life extension, and exponential growth in informatics and genomics capacity might lead to rapid progress. Nonetheless, developing the tools for significantly modifying human biology is crucial to intervening in a complex process like aging. Yet in spite of advances in areas like regenerative medicine and gene therapy, the development of clinical applications has been slow and this remains a key hurdle for achieving radical life extension in the foreseeable future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Rejuvenation / physiology*