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 euthanasia."

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...' - Larry Niven, 1968.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
'Ken lay full-length in the padded body compartment, his feet resting on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's engine levers.'

Abundant Robotics Autonomous Apple Harvester Robot
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant... cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Charging An Electric Car In 2019 (Video), 1912 (Photo) And 1894 (Fiction)
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.'

Get Your Speeder Flying Motorcycle From Jetpack Aviation
'The flycycles were miracles of compact design.'

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Dockworkers Protest Driverless Trucks
'It resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

Flying Car Concept By Kash Sirinanda
'Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes... On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom...'

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.