Anti-Aging Drug Research Is Taking Too Long
Anti-aging drugs that target mitochondria in hopes of eliminating the problem of aging seem to all have an interesting side effect. Test animals live longer, all right; and at the end, it's over quickly. I just want them to hurry up and start giving me some of the science-fictional options I've been reading about my whole life.
Mitochondria provide our bodies with chemical energy. They accumulate damage over time, causing tissues and cells to break down. Early work on drugs that boost mitochondria in lab animals shows that it can extend longevity and halt diseases like cancer and diabetes. But the lab animals tend to die quickly and inexplicably at the end.
"They die of natural death ....probably their heart stops to beat!" wrote Washington University School of Medicine caloric restriction pioneer Luigi Fontana of the rodents in his and other studies, which betray little evidence of the histopathological lesions -- tissue and organ damage or abnormality -- mentioned by Bartke. "The animal drops dead and we cannot really know why.... One expanation is the failure of the electrical conductive system of the heart because of metabolic alterations.... No pain, no suffering, no medical and social cost for society!"
SF authors have been fantasizing about what anti-aging treatments would be like; this possible future has been imagined by Robert Heinlein in his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children.
"What it adds up to is that, for
members of the Families, senility is postponed and that senescence can be arrested at least
cosmetically." She brooded for a moment. "Once they thought they were on the track of the secret of
immortality, the true Fountain of Youth. But it was a mistake. Senility is simply postponed . . . and
shortened. About ninety days from the first clear warning-then death from old age." She shivered. "Of
course, most of our cousins don't wait-a couple of weeks to make certain of the diagnosis, then
Other imagined futures (why must they always have a flaw?); Kurt Vonnegut wrote about anti-gerasone in his well-known short story Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Anti-gerasone's flaw was that it worked too well - neither material goods nore inheritance laws could keep up.
In A World Out Of Time, Larry Niven writes about a drug called young-forever, which puts off death almost forever. Unfortunately, it works only with children, who then never go through puberty.
In This Immortal, Roger Zelazny refers to the Sprung-Samser treatments, which confer a measure of longer life, but which are only used after the subject has aged, due to potential side-effects.
And don't forget the anti-agathics from James Blish's excellent series Cities in Flight.
Story via Wired.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/25/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'
Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories