Meeting Aubrey de Grey, the mind behind the successful “The End of Ageing”

Conociendo a Aubrey de Grey, la mente detrás del éxito “El Fin del envejecimiento” - Aubrey de Grey, Investigación

Aubrey de Grey is a well-known English biomedical gerontologist who graduated in Computer Science, with a later doctorate in Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000, respectively. Dr.Grey is the chief editor of Rejuvenation Research, a member of the Gerontological Society of the United States and the American Aging Association, and serves on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of many journals and organizations.

However, perhaps the greatest achievement of Dr. Aubrey de Grey is his work at the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization co-founded by Michael Kope, Aubrey de Grey, Jeff Hall, Sarah Marr and Kevin Perrott, based in Mountain View, (California) and where he is the head of research.

The end of ageing?

Dr. de Grey is now a familiar face to the public thanks to his strong views on ageing. He says that medical technology can allow humans to live indefinitely, or almost. His research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can prevent the ageing process, working on the development of what he calls “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS), a collection of techniques proposed to rejuvenate the human body and stop the ageing process. For this purpose, he identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes and a series of therapies designed to repair them.

The book "The end of ageing", a work that the gerontologist published in 2007, describes the bold but highly scientific plan to eliminate human ageing through biological engineering. Humans and their loved ones will no longer be tortured with declining health, vitality, attractiveness and the ability to function through an ageing process that often ends in an agonizing and costly death.

According to Grey and his Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) one could end the ageing as a cause of death in the course of our lives if enough resources are devoted to the development of the required technology, his great battle.

Rejuvenation is possible

The anti-ageing strategy of Dr. de Grey aims to not delay ageing, but reach eternal life (or almost) through seven repair strategies aimed at the seven forms of cell damage that manifest as ageing.

In a way that we can all understand, his solution seeks to clean the waste of cells, nullify the ravages of mutations (in mitochondria and the nucleus), eliminate protein cross-linking and replace lost cells, as well as get rid of bad cells that are causing problems.

The premise “is better to prevent than cure” is not worth to Dr. de Grey. He believes that repairing damage can be much easier than trying to prevent it. The researcher argues that older tissues (including the immune system) can be clogged by old inoperative cells that sometimes produce toxic substances. The SENS solution is obvious: get rid of those cells. Therefore, the challenge is to selectively attack and destroy undesirable cells without harming the rest.

The boldest aspect of this program advocated by the biogerontologist may be finding the cure for cancer. De Grey wants to eliminate the telomerase genes from the human genome as a means to eliminate the disease, an ambitious vision that requires a lot of research and effort.

A bump in the road

Dr. de Grey advocates political activism to eliminate obstacles to rejuvenation research. It promotes financial support for his Methuselah Foundation and calls for help for researchers. He believes that demonstrating rejuvenation in a mouse could be a breakthrough for rejuvenation technology, just as the discovery of the Wright brothers marked a new dawn in the flight age.