Use the future to build the present
Reversing Ageing
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

2.3.4Reversing Ageing

Age reversal is a radical and controversial idea, but there are reasons to believe that some progress is possible here. It has proven possible to reverse certain ageing biomarkers using restrictive diets16, and certain phenotypes of ageing can be reversed in specific tissues, for example osteoarthritis by eliminating senescent cells. In transplantation medicine, researchers are conducting trials that aim to remove the age-associated chemicals found in the kidneys of older donors so that they can be successfully transplanted into young recipients.

There are suggestions that mesenchymal stem cells, epigenetic reprogramming, gene therapy for telomere lengthening, organ replacement and drugs may all have the ability to, in some specific tissues, trigger reversion to an earlier state. Stem cells can even be reset to age zero — this process has been used to regenerate a crushed optic nerve.17 A gene therapy has been mooted to reverse the processes of multiple age-related diseases.18 Gene editing has corrected a progeria mutation in mice allowing them to double their lifespan19.

This remains a difficult research programme with many barriers to overcome. Most of the treatment approaches are currently very expensive, and there is no animal model organism or trial that could tell us how far these increase the human lifespan — waiting for results would take a prohibitive amount of time. However, it should not take long to discover whether these therapies have real effects on healthspan and as ageing biomarkers become more validated, it may be possible to estimate their effects on lifespan.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Organ rejuvenation is proved possible

Research succeeds in removing the age-associated chemicals in animal organs. The first trials of cell and gene therapy for ageing in humans begin.

10-yearhorizon

Age therapies become affordable

Improvements in the tools and techniques of cell and gene therapy reduce the cost and widen the availability of treatments that slow ageing.

25-yearhorizon

Limited age reset becomes possible

Stem cell delivery methods mature, allowing the targeting and rejuvenation of a range of tissue types. Organ derivation and replacement becomes a possibility.

Reversing Ageing - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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