“Dying Could Become Optional in 27 Years, Genetic Engineers Claim, as Immortality and Reversible Ageing Are on the Horizon”
During the book presentation of “The Death of Death” in Barcelona, two genetic engineers, José Luis Cordeiro and David Wood, made bold assertions about the future of human mortality and ageing. Cordeiro, hailing from Venezuela with Spanish roots and associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, and Wood, a mathematician from Cambridge (UK) and co-founder of the ‘Symbian’ operating system, firmly believe that dying may become optional within the next 27 years, and that ageing could become reversible.
Their book explores the possibility of achieving immortality through scientific means, and they assert that this milestone could come sooner than previously imagined. According to their predictions, by approximately the year 2045, humans would only die from accidents and never from natural causes or illnesses, given the advancements in medical science and genetic engineering.
A crucial aspect of their vision involves reclassifying old age as an “illness” to enable publicly-funded research aimed at finding a “cure” for ageing. They emphasize the significance of nanotechnology and other genetic manipulation techniques as central to the process. The proposed approach includes transforming detrimental genes into healthy ones, removing dead cells from the body, repairing damaged cells, implementing stem cell treatments, and even 3D printing vital organs.
At the core of the ageing process lies the shortening of DNA ‘tails,’ known as ‘telomeres,’ in chromosomes. In most cells (except red blood and sex cells), these chromosomes have 23 pairs, and as telomeres become progressively shorter, ageing occurs. Factors like exposure to toxins, such as smoking, alcohol, and air pollution, can accelerate this shortening process, leading to premature ageing.
Cordeiro and Wood’s research has led them to believe that within the next decade, diseases like cancer will become curable. Major corporations, including Google and Microsoft, are already expressing interest in medical breakthroughs related to ageing, with Microsoft setting up a cryopreservation center to investigate cancer’s potential complete eradication.
The engineers point out that the immortality they envision won’t necessarily lead to overpopulation concerns. They argue that the Earth still has ample space for more inhabitants, especially since modern societies tend to have fewer children than in the past.
Additionally, they predict that living in space will be a feasible option by that time, further expanding human habitation possibilities.
Addressing concerns about the cost of anti-ageing treatments, Cordeiro likens it to the initial high prices of smartphones, stating that the cost will gradually decrease as the technology becomes more accessible and widespread. They draw parallels with technological advancements, which initially tend to be costly and exclusive but eventually become democratic and affordable.
The engineers disclose that they have already been applying their techniques for two years, albeit illegally, in Colombia due to the country’s less stringent regulations regarding genetic manipulation. They highlight the case of Elisabeth Parrish, their first human patient, who sought their treatment after experiencing signs of ageing. Although the treatment is deemed risky and currently illegal, Parrish has not experienced any adverse side effects, and her blood’s telomere level has reportedly become “20 years younger than before.”
“I want Spain to have a place in the world of these technologies and show that we’re not mad, it’s just that people still don’t know about them,” Wood concluded.
Their book, “The Death of Death,” will be published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Korean, with all proceeds from sales reinvested into their research.
While their predictions may be met with skepticism, Cordeiro and Wood’s vision represents a bold and ambitious leap into the future of medical science and genetic engineering. Only time will tell if their optimism is justified and if humankind can indeed overcome the barriers of mortality and ageing through groundbreaking scientific innovations.