Aubrey de Grey

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Aubrey de Grey
Aubrey de Grey.jpg
In Los Angeles, California, 2008
Born (1963-04-20) 20 April 1963 (age 50)
London, England
Residence Cambridge, England
Nationality British
Education MA, PhD (Cantab)
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Occupation Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation,[1] member of Flooved advisory Board, adjunct professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology [2]
Known for Work in Biogerontology, Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS)
Spouse(s) Adelaide Carpenter[3]

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (/dəˈɡr/; born 20 April 1963)[4] is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007). He is known for his view that human beings alive today could live to lifespans far in excess of any authenticated cases.

De Grey's research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can thwart the aging process.[5] He works on the development of what he calls "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS), a collection of proposed techniques to rejuvenate the human body and stop aging. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.[6]

De Grey is an international adjunct professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology,[7] a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America,[8] the American Aging Association, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.[9] He has been interviewed in recent years in a number of news sources, including CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, TED, Popular Science, The Colbert Report, Time and the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. He is also a member of Flooved advisory Board.

Early life and education[edit]

De Grey was born and brought up in London, England.[10] He told The Observer that he never knew his father, and that his mother, an artist, encouraged him in the areas she herself was the weakest: science and mathematics.[3] He was educated at Sussex House School[11] and Harrow School. He went to the University of Cambridge,[12] graduating in 1985 with a BA in computer science from Trinity Hall.[13][citation needed]

Career[edit]

After graduation in 1985, de Grey joined Sinclair Research Ltd as an AI/software engineer. In 1986, he co-founded Man-Made Minions Ltd to pursue the development of an automated formal program verifier. He met his wife, fruit-fly geneticist Adelaide Carpenter, at a graduate party in Cambridge, and through her was introduced to the science of anti-aging, when her boss needed someone who knew about computers and biology to take over the running of a database on fruit flies.[14] From 1992 until 2006, he was in charge of software development at the university's Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database.[15]

In 1999, his book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging was published, in which he writes that obviating damage to mitochondrial DNA might by itself extend lifespan significantly, though he said it was more likely that cumulative damage to mitochondria is a significant cause of senescence, but not the single dominant cause. On the basis of the book, the University of Cambridge awarded de Grey a PhD in 2000.[16]

Strategies[edit]

De Grey argues that the fundamental knowledge needed to develop effective anti-aging medicine mostly already exists, and that the science is ahead of the funding. He works to identify and promote specific technological approaches to the reversal of various aspects of aging, or, as de Grey puts it, "the set of accumulated side effects from metabolism that eventually kills us,".[17]

As of 2005, his work centered upon a detailed plan called Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which is aimed at preventing age-related physical and cognitive decline. In March 2009, he co-founded the SENS Research Foundation (named SENS Foundation until early 2013), a non-profit organization based in California, United States, where he currently serves as Chief Science Officer. The Foundation "works to develop, promote and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of ageing,"[18] focusing on the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Before March 2009, the SENS research program was mainly pursued by the Methuselah Foundation, co-founded by de Grey.

A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation is the Methuselah Mouse Prize,[19] a prize designed to hasten the research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who stretch the lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. De Grey stated in March 2005 "if we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging." The prize reached 4.2 USD million in February 2007.

In 2005, he was the subject of two highly critical editorials accompanying an article in MIT's Technology Review.[20]

In 2007, de Grey wrote the book Ending Aging with the assistance of Michael Rae.[21] It provides a detailed account of the science, politics and social challenges of the entire SENS agenda.[22]

In a 2008 broadcast on the Arte German & French TV, de Grey confirmed that according to him, the first human who will live up to 1,000 years is probably already alive now, and might even be today between 50 and 60 years old.[23]

Since 2008, soon after he began speaking publicly about his gerontological theories, Dr. de Grey has been scientific advisor for the Campaign for Aging Research (C.A.R.).[24]

As of 2013, the SENS Research Foundation has an annual budget of $4 million.[25]

Pro-aging trance[edit]

The "pro-aging trance" is a term coined by Grey to describe "the impulsion to leap to embarrassingly unjustified conclusions in order to put the horror of aging out of one’s mind".[26] According to de Grey, the pro-aging trance or "pro-aging edifice"[27] is a psychological strategy which people use in order to cope with aging, and which is rooted in the belief that aging is immutable and unavoidable. De Grey refers, in this regard, to the general public's ambivalence towards aging. For example, he states that life extension is often viewed as prolonging, rather than postponing, the period of decrepitude characteristic of old age, a belief that de Grey calls the "Tithonus error", in reference to the myth of Tithonus. He describes this attitude as a rational response to the perceived inevitability of aging. However, de Grey believes that defeating aging is feasible and that the pro-aging trance represents a huge barrier to combating aging.[28]

Funding of SENS Research Foundation[edit]

In 2011, de Grey inherited roughly $16.5 million on the death of his mother.[29] Of this he assigned $13 million to fund SENS research, which by 2013 had the effect of roughly doubling the SENS Research Foundation's yearly budget to $4 million. Other donors who have given millions to the Foundation include investor Peter Thiel.[29]

The Seven Types of Aging Damage Proposed by de Grey (The Seven Deadly Things)[edit]

  1. Mutations - in Chromosomes causing cancer due to nuclear mutations/epimutations:
    These are changes to the nuclear DNA (nDNA), the molecule that contains our genetic information, or to proteins which bind to the nDNA. Certain mutations can lead to cancer, and, according to de Grey, non-cancerous mutations and epimutations do not contribute to aging within a normal lifespan, so cancer is the only endpoint of these types of damage that must be addressed.
  2. Mutations - in Mitochondria:
    Mitochondria are components in our cells that are important for energy production. They contain their own genetic material, and mutations to their DNA can affect a cell’s ability to function properly. Indirectly, these mutations may accelerate many aspects of aging.
  3. Junk - inside of cells, aka intracellular aggregates:
    Our cells are constantly breaking down proteins and other molecules that are no longer useful or which can be harmful. Those molecules which can’t be digested simply accumulate as junk inside our cells. Atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and all kinds of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease) are associated with this problem.
  4. Junk - outside of cells, aka extracellular aggregates:
    Harmful junk protein can also accumulate outside of our cells. The amyloid senile plaque seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is one example.
  5. Cells - too few, aka cellular loss:
    Some of the cells in our bodies cannot be replaced, or can only be replaced very slowly - more slowly than they die. This decrease in cell number causes the heart to become weaker with age, and it also causes Parkinson's disease and impairs the immune system.
  6. Cells - too many, aka Cell senescence:
    This is a phenomenon where the cells are no longer able to divide, but also do not die and let others divide. They may also do other things that they’re not supposed to, like secreting proteins that could be harmful. Cell senescence has been proposed as cause or consequence of type 2 diabetes.[30] Immune senescence is also caused by this.[citation needed]
  7. Extracellular protein crosslinks:
    Cells are held together by special linking proteins. When too many cross-links form between cells in a tissue, the tissue can lose its elasticity and cause problems including arteriosclerosis and presbyopia.[17][31]

Criticism[edit]

Technology Review debate[edit]

A debate over the legitimacy of de Grey's proposals for combating aging was published in MIT's Technology Review. In the end, none of the challengers to de Grey were able to convince the judges that SENS was "so wrong that it is unworthy of learned debate," though the judges noted that "the proponents of SENS have not made a compelling case for SENS."[32]

EMBO Reports[edit]

An article about SENS published in the viewpoint section of EMBO Reports by 28 scientists concluded that none of de Grey's therapies "has ever been shown to extend the lifespan of any organism, let alone humans".[33] The SENS Research Foundation, of which de Grey was a co-founder, seems to agree with the EMBO Report as it states, "If you want to reverse the damage of aging right now I'm afraid the simple answer is, you can't."[34] Nonetheless, de Grey argues that this reveals a serious gap in understanding between basic scientists and technologists and between biologists studying aging and those studying regenerative medicine.[35] The 24-member Research Advisory Board of his own SENS Research Foundation have signed an endorsement of the plausibility of the SENS approach.[36]

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999, Cambridge University Press)
  • Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (with Michael Rae) (St. Martin's Press, 2008)
  • Strategies For Engineered Negligible Senescence: Why Genuine Control Of Aging May Be Foreseeable (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SRF Home | SENS Research Foundation. Sens.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  2. ^ MIPT News
  3. ^ a b Templeton, Tom. Holding back the years, The Observer, 16 September 2007.
  4. ^ Bushko, Renata G., ed. (2005). Future of Intelligent and Extelligent Health Environment, volume 118. IOS Press. p. 328. ISBN 1-58603-571-1. 
  5. ^ de Grey, Aubrey. "Defeating Age". IAI. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  6. ^ SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence)
  7. ^ Doctor Aubrey de Grey an MIPT Adjunct Professor. MIPT. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Phystech.edu (2013-06-28). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  8. ^ Gerontological Society of America. Geron.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  9. ^ Aubrey de Grey, Fellow, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  10. ^ Stripp, David (14 June 2004). "This Man Would Have You Live A Really, Really, Really, Really Long Time. If a mouse can survive the equivalent of 180 years, why not us? Or our kids? Scientific provocateur Aubrey de Grey has a plan.". CNN. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "About Us". Sussex House School. 
  12. ^ University of Cambridge. Cam.ac.uk. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  13. ^ Trinity Hall - Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Trinhall.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  14. ^ Aubrey de Grey, Methuselah Foundation, accessed February 9, 2010.
  15. ^ Misra, S.; Crosby, M.; Mungall, C.; Matthews, B.; Campbell, K.; Hradecky, P.; Huang, Y.; Kaminker, J.; Millburn, G.; Prochnik, S. E.; Smith, C. D.; Tupy, J. L.; Whitfied, E. J.; Bayraktaroglu, L.; Berman, B. P.; Bettencourt, B. R.; Celniker, S. E.; De Grey, A. D.; Drysdale, R. A.; Harris, N. L.; Richter, J.; Russo, S.; Schroeder, A. J.; Shu, S. Q.; Stapleton, M.; Yamada, C.; Ashburner, M.; Gelbart, W. M.; Rubin, G. M.; Lewis, S. E. (2002). "Annotation of the Drosophila melanogaster euchromatic genome: A systematic review". Genome Biology 3 (12): research0083.research0081–83.research0081. doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-12-research0083. PMC 151185. PMID 12537572.  edit
  16. ^ Congregation of the Regent House on 9 December 2000, Cambridge University Reporter, December 13, 2000. Special regulations available only to Cambridge degree holders (of whatever discipline) permit the submission of "...a significant contribution to scholarship" instead. Though the awardee has not been registered as a Ph.D. student, the degree is not honorary; applicants are evaluated by the usual methods, with examiners appointed and an oral defense of the submitted work.
  17. ^ a b Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality interview with LiveScience
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ Methuselah Mouse Prize
  20. ^ Nuland, Sherwin. February 2005. "Do You Want to Live Forever?". Technology Review.
  21. ^ de Grey, Aubrey; Rae, Michael. September 2007. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Press, 416 p. ISBN 0-312-36706-6.
  22. ^ Ben Best (December 2007). "Book Review: ENDING AGING". Life Extension Magazine. Life Extension Foundation. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  23. ^ Aux frontières de l'immortalité, November 16th, 2008, 23:10, director  : Gerald Caillat
  24. ^ Longevity Meme Newsletter, July 20 2009
  25. ^ "SENS Research Foundation organizational reports."
  26. ^ de Grey, Aubrey (August 2008). "Combating the Tithonus Error: What Works?". Rejuvenation Research 11 (4): 713–715. doi:10.1089/rej.2008.0775. PMID 18729803. 
  27. ^ de Grey, Aubrey (February 2009). "Cracks in Social Gerontology's Pro-Aging Edifice". Rejuvenation Research 12 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1089/rej.2009.0841. PMID 19236163. 
  28. ^ "Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging | Video on TED.com"
  29. ^ a b Ben Best (2013) "Interview with Aubrey de Grey, PhD". Life Extension Magazine.
  30. ^ Testa, Roberto; Antonio Ceriello (2007). "Pathogenetic Loop Between Diabetes and Cell Senescence". Diabetes Care 30 (11): 2974–2975. doi:10.2337/dc07-1534. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  31. ^ Aubrey de Grey (2010-02-22). Aubrey de Grey - In Pursuit of Longevity. Singularity University. 
  32. ^ "Is Defeating Aging Only a Dream?". Technology Review. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  33. ^ Warner, H.; Anderson, J.; Austad, S.; Bergamini, E.; Bredesen, D.; Butler, R.; Carnes, B. A.; Clark, B. F. C.; Cristofalo, V.; Faulkner, J.; Guarente, L.; Harrison, D. E.; Kirkwood, T.; Lithgow, G.; Martin, G.; Masoro, E.; Melov, S.; Miller, R. A.; Olshansky, S. J.; Partridge, L.; Pereira-Smith, O.; Perls, T.; Richardson, A.; Smith, J.; Von Zglinicki, T.; Wang, E.; Wei, J. Y.; Williams, T. F. (Nov 2005). "Science fact and the SENS agenda. What can we reasonably expect from ageing research?". EMBO Reports 6 (11): 1006–1008. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400555. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1371037. PMID 16264422.  edit
  34. ^ "SENS Research Foundation FAQ". SENS Research Foundation. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  35. ^ De Grey, A. D. N. J. (2005). "Like it or not, life-extension research extends beyond biogerontology". EMBO Reports 6 (11): 1000. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400565. PMC 1371043. PMID 16264420.  edit
  36. ^ SENS Research Foundation - Research Advisory Board

External links[edit]