Bill Andrews's feet are so large, he tells me, that back when he was 20 he was able to break the Southern California barefoot-waterskiing distance record the first time he put skin to water. Then he got ambitious and went for the world speed record. When the towrope broke at 80 mph, he says, "they pulled me out of the water on a stretcher."
The soles of the size-15 New Balances that today shelter those impressive feet strike a steady clap-clap on the macadam as Andrews and I lope down a path along the Truckee River that takes us away from the clutter of cut-rate casino hotels, strip malls and highway exit ramps that is downtown Reno, Nevada. Andrews, 59, is a lean 6-foot-3 and wears a close-cropped salt-and-pepper Vandyke and, for today's outing, a silver running jacket, nicely completing a package that suggests a Right Stuff–era astronaut. He is in fact one of the better ultramarathoners in America. I am an out-of-shape former occasional runner, so it gives me pause to listen as Andrews describes his racing exploits. "I can run 100 miles, finish, turn around, and meet friends of mine on the course who are still coming in," he says. "I've been in many races where I'm stepping over bodies of people who have collapsed, and I'm feeling great."
His return to running after a middle-aged break was, he says, inspired by a revelation he had at a time when he and a small team of scientists at his biotech start-up, Sierra Sciences, had been working 14 to 18 hours a day in the lab for five years, rather obsessively pursuing a particular breakthrough. Finally, his doctor told him he was headed for an early grave. "I thought, god, I don't want to cure aging and then drop dead," Andrews says.
That would indeed be ironic. Because Andrews does intend to cure aging. This stated ambition induces in some listeners the suspicion that Andrews might suffer from delusions of grandeur, but he has a scientific pedigree that insists he be taken seriously. Unlike his friend Aubrey de Grey, the University of Cambridge longevity theorist who relentlessly generates media attention with speculations that straddle the border between science and science fiction, Andrews is an actual research scientist, a top-drawer molecular biologist.
In the 1990s, as the director of molecular biology at the Bay Area biotech firm Geron, Andrews helped lead a team of researchers that, in alliance with a lab at the University of Colorado, just barely beat out the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a furious, near-decade-long race to identify the human telomerase gene. That this basic science took on the trappings of a frenzied Great Race is a testament to the biological preciousness of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains the ends of our cells' chromosomes, called telomeres. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides, and when they get too short the cell can no longer make fresh copies of itself. If we live long enough, the tissues and organ systems that depend on continued cell replication begin to falter: The skin sags, the internal organs grow slack, the immune-system response weakens such that the next chest cold could be our last. But what if we could induce our bodies to express more telomerase? We'll see, because that is what Andrews intends to do.
Andrews had scheduled this afternoon's run as an 18-miler, but he graciously downscaled those ambitions on my behalf long before we set out from the parking lot of the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel. Four miles in, he's hardly winded—and I'm out of gas. As we make our way back to his car, he consults his training watch and informs me that our pace was an almost respectable 8:40, excepting the latter stretches when I walked, pushing our average up to 10 minutes a mile.
The embrace of fitness has for Andrews a telomeric logic. Make poor lifestyle choices, and you're likely to die of heart disease or cancer or something well before your telomeres would otherwise become life-threateningly short. But for the aerobicized Andrews, for anyone who takes reasonable care of himself, a drug that activates telomerase might slow down the baseline rate at which the body falls apart. Andrews likens the underlying causes of aging, free radicals and the rest, to sticks of dynamite, with truncated telomeres being the stick with the shortest fuse. "I believe there's a really good chance that if we defuse that stick," he says, "and the person doesn't smoke and doesn't get obese, it wouldn't be surprising if they lived to be 150 years old. That means they're going to have 50 more years to be around when somebody solves the other aging problems."
But in his race to cure aging, Andrews may himself be running out of time. The stock-market crash of 2008 nearly wiped out two investors who had until then been his primary funders. Without the money to continue refining the nearly 40 telomerase-activating chemicals he and his team had already discovered, Andrews made the decision last September to cut a deal with John W. Anderson, the founder of Isagenix, an Arizona-based "network marketing" supplement company. This month, Isagenix will launch an anti-aging product containing several natural compounds that Sierra Sciences has verified to have "telomere-supporting" properties. It's not the powerful drug Andrews originally envisioned, but he says he believes it will promote "health and well-being" and just possibly generate enough cash to underwrite the expensive "medicinal chemistry" required to come up with a more fully developed anti-aging compound—one attractive enough to bring in a billionaire or a Big Pharma partner with pockets deep enough to take a drug candidate through the FDA's time-consuming and fabulously expensive approval process.
"I want to cure my aging," Andrews tells me, "my friends' and family's aging, my investors' aging, their friends' and families' aging, and make a ton of money. And I want to cure everybody else's aging too—I put that probably equal to making a ton of money."
You do know that the stories in the bible were written WELL after the events they are supposed to portray happened right?
Sort of hard to say they are 100% factual being written hundreds of years later... Heck, even 10 years after the fact is too long for the event to be described with 100% accuracy. Add in language and education gaps between those telling the stories and those writing them.
Play this game and them tell me that the bible is 100% all fact and accurate Get 10 people. Write down a 10 - 20 word sentence now, tell this sentence to the 1st person, they cannot write it down, have them wait 10 mins before telling the second person, have them wait 10 mins before the telling the next person and so on until it gets to the 10th person. Have the 10th person write down the sentence. Make sure that no one else repeats the sentence back to each other, and that no one else writes it down. Compare the original sentence with the one written down.
You'll be suprised at how much changes in a matter of only 100 mins, and 10 people later with just 1 sentence. Now look at how thick that bible is. Still think it's pure fact? or even remotely accurate?
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
@allenehrl, it seems to me your take on a 150-year lifespan is a rather dark one.
At the moment, 150 years is just under twice the average lifespan of Americans, which comes in at around 78, counting both sexes. Were we all to wake up tomorrow with a strong probability of then living until around 150 when today we're still thinking 75-80 years, yes, the dislocation would be enormous. I'm not a scientist, but I'm betting that if such lifespans really do become the norm, it will be over an extended period. And we could, at least in theory, adjust.
After all, consider that 150-200 years ago, for most people 40 was old, 50 excited comment, and 60 inspired awe. (I'm talking about in North America and what we used to call "Western Europe.") In other words, in a very short time our lifespans have increased dramatically, yet we're still able to plod along. We have further adjusting to do that is becoming of increasing urgency, such as making retirement age later, true.
In short, should this come to pass, I have some confidence we will figure out a way, as a species, to handle it.
@CodeZero, speaking of old stories being handed down over and over again. Much of the old testment bible is very simuliar to the ancient Samarians stories,hmmm. One person is king is reported to live for 36,000 years.
For humans to take the time and scribe down on stone of humans that live a long time, just caught their attention and they felt the need to make it important. If these humans were really living an average amount of time, no one would care. I am just asking the simple question of, how did the ancient humans live so long? What was different in the past with the enviroment or the humans that live so long?
Who the heck has time to run 100 miles routinely? This guy is retired. Some of us have to actually work. So I guess when I hit 60 and retire, then I can run 100 miles routinely? Lol. Not very practical, but this research is amazing.
and btw, if us Humans start colonizing space/moons/other planets, then overpopulation won't be such of an issue.
Hmmm, once upon a time, the ancient Samarians scribe in their history of a man who lived 36,000. Perhaps, this man who lived 36,000 years could have been a alien space traveler. For this alien to travel among the stars and the time it takes would be less of a problem. Now as this man and or his crew had sex with the females they made off spring. These off spring live much less, say 900 years of so. Also these aliens were highly advance and toyed with the local animals and made all sorts of different hybrid creators and mutants. These hybrids continue to make babies, over time their life spans were reducing. Why did these aliens continue to stay on earth, maybe their intergalactic drive on their spaceship was dysfunctional. So the help the native humans and develop writing for us, showed us how to make a calendar and use their own math and tools to make the pyramids. The background radio signals of the earth were none existent. The river Nile has a cycle of flooding. Moving water can cause an electrical charge. So in building the great pyramid, it had a tunnel that went deep under the foundation. This tunnels spread out to 100s of other tunnels. As the river Nile raised, water filled the tunnels. The moving water causes the pyramid to have an electrical charge. Also the pyramid has other tunnels inside of it. The Egyptian poured different type of chemicals into these tunnels and mixing, they produce hydrogen. The mixture of hydrogen and the electrical charge with certain chambers and metal tuning devices inside cause a type signal to be sent out. Pyramid Radio Single was broadcasting towards a single point upward to the stars and the constellation Orion. Since on earth there was no radio background noise, this unnatural single stood out brightly as a beacon. Eventually the Supreme Commander of the alien shows up from noticing this unusual signal coming from planet earth and sees all these mutant hybrid beings running around and with all the other bad things the alien travelers have done too. So the Supreme Commander wants to clean up the mess and begin again for the humans and the planet. So there is the great flood. The Supreme Command only allows the typical native human to survive and the typical native animals to survive too. Everything else is removed in the cleansing... So since the aliens are gone and we are typical humans again, we have to be happy to live 77 years typically today...Maybe with DNA technology we might double it in the future, maybe. Past aliens can't help us and as some have said, it’s all fables.
for all of you who want to learn more watch the movie "The Man from Earth". it touches a lot on the topic of living for a long time. we are smart enough and advanced enough to cracking the secret of eternal life.
@JediMindSet, I own this movie. It’s a good movie and kind of philosophical in many ways. Some people do not like to hear a certain kind of true and prefer the " Do not desturb lite being on".
Sort of hard to say they are 100% factual being written hundreds of years later..."
I would add - outrageous to say they are even remotely factual.
yes it is over all philosophical. and certain people feel threatened when they watch or hear stuff like it. like the one lady in the movie that gets saddened when the main character says he was once jesus christ.
Getting back on track to this article and finding solutions to the diminishing life cycle of repeating DNA as cells renew each other, what if this doctor in his solution to find a cure, accidently finds a cure and we live 200, 500 or 1000 years or more. Now how would that change things. What then?
Maybe the solution is not in the telomeres. Some plants live thousands of years, and they have some alternative ways to survive:
I take exception to your assertion that the Bible is nothing more than fables. What is more, I take exception to the fact that you spout it as scientific truth. Who are you to tell one person or a group of people that their beliefs are all lies? Believe it all you want, but if you're going to attack someone's belief system, maybe you should stop and think about how you would feel if someone did that to you. How do you feel being put on the defensive? Do you like it?
Some further food for thought... How would you explain the science of the origins of the universe to a child? One that doesnt understand quatum theory or physics or anything else like that? The answer is that you would explain it in such a way that they could grasp; in very elementary and rudimentry ways so that they can understand their origins. Lets take this into a grander scale... If you're God and you're trying to explain to a man living in 3000 BC the origins of the universe, how would you explain it? I would suspect that it would read very similarly to the book of Genesis.
Try looking beyond the glass and out in the world for answers to the mysteries of the Universe.
None of this matters. The earth can only sustain humans or any organic organism to a certain size and quantity. Mankind would outlive itself only so long as the earth could sustain it. Humans are under the false impression that they are larger than the known universe. Mankind will be eradicated from this planet long before there is any possibility of damage beyond it's own repair. You can search for immortality as long as you want, however the earth simply won't allow for it to happen.
I must say that this makes your work great. You have an unique way of presenting ideas. In a way that anyone would have interpretation. Thanks so much for sharing this great post. Your positive point of views is inspiring.
Don't see a problem with going through a network marketing company, they often have very large creditable customer base so he will surely make allot of money quickly.
Also overpopulation probably would not be a issue, as a society we are still very hostile and brutal. Wars, social conflict and most are lower class people who can't afford such medicine anyway. Someone might buy a bottle for a money but unlikely they will continue taking the tablets their whole life. Going to guess it will be 50-100USD per month for the stuff, honestly I can't even afford that long term.
@jaydub, Does your God love everyone. I believe my God does love everyone. And I am Christian. But with that said, I think it close minded of me to not pay attention to other cultures and other religions. We are small tiny little ants in the wonder of our Dear Lord. He speaks to us all and if we have trouble hearing, the limitation falls to us being so imperfect and well, ant like. Lots of people love to declare their religion as the one and only and discount the rest of the world; the same world and all the people who God is loving at this moment. While I will always be steadfast by the principles of being Christian, I see the whole world to learn from and the universe too, and yes science as well. But being very focus, factual and all I see the point calling some past religions fables as (codezero)is just trying to add up the facts( scientifically ) for this article. I was not terrible offended he called religion fables, because he wants to put facts in hand. Hearsay is not fact. But I find it personally factual that billions of the people feel and know a presence of GOD. In this case, I feel all this hearsay by some many different people and cultures, confirms the presence of GOD, despite actually putting a piece of fact in your hand. Unless billions of people all have an imaginary friend, which really seems unlikely,to me. But what do I know; lots of people on PoPSCI consider me goofy, lol. I also feel it of good merit to pay attention to archeology of the samerians. Why in the world did that pause in their own daily lives and feel the need to scribe down how old some was, unless it really caught there attention! The Christains too, noted this observation too and felt it was important to remember. A person may discount the actual years of the old people. But the fact remains they saw it and felt is extremely important. So between then and now, how did humanity or the enviroment change? Scientifically, I felt it worth considering.
When I was born, I was innocent. My dear Lord made me and he made me with open eyes.!
I also believe I will be judge signally, by myself and no person on this earth will be there to represent me. My life is an individual experience and I am its owner to the end. I believe the same is true of everyone and they are individuals experience their own perspective of life. I believe we will all individually be judge. I believe our dear Lord loves us all and is speaking to us all. This said, other cultures, other religions, other people’s perspectives of life deserve merit and consideration. Just so you know, the recent Pope said, (if) space aliens are discovered one day, this does not diminish Christianity or God. The fact he allowed (if) concedes the possibility that aliens in the future maybe found. I say if aliens are found, it makes sense they are found, the universe is a big place and yes our dear Lord is bigger than all of it. Our dear Lord made us with free thinking minds, imagination, eyes, ears and the ability to communicate, it's ok, use these things. Science does exist too, it just describes what our dear Lord has made.
People hate when I get going.... if it offends you, just ignore me.
This article and our latest modern miracle of non-aging mice (news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/partial-reversal-of-aging-achieved-in-mice/)has a certain implied and ominous portent of, say, having to live in 10 year shifts alternating with 20 years of suspended animation until galactic colonization can tidy up on humanity's excess proliferation. Or perhaps mulching the remains of those choosing virtual sublimation would be the optimal solution to Malthusian constraints. Hmm, this could be the answer to Fermi's paradox of the non-appearance of advanced civilizations - they've all sublimed off their planets. But only boring people are bored, don't sublime and the galaxy is ours!
@brublr, your an ad, adrvertisment of sorts, a distrator and just odd to the extreme. Your comments are odd to me and with no direct or source. Yup, just odd.
All thought is prayer and all thoughts are answered. Seth
Unknown entities cannot be introduced to explain other unknown entities. William of Occam
Seems to me he'll just have to die trying. How could you contain time and control it in a scientific sense? <a href="http://shawcapitalmanagementfinancialnews.com/" rel="nofollow">Shaw Capital Management Warning</a>
@brublr, Hmmm, I see.
This man is my hero. "Is it wasting your life trying to save people's lives?"
@all the critics: What you don't understand and have been force-fed is that we have too many people on the planet , but the population density of most of the Western World is a FRACTION of what it is in Asia and South America.
What would happen if we found clinical immortality is that instead of losing all the greatest scientists and researchers we would keep them and as a race we would then have the ability to explode across the Universe.
What's the #1 problem facing most Western people? OBESITY . So the 'food shortage' argument is now void.
In order to colonize the Moon, Mars, and the rest of the Solar System, we absolutely MUST have this technology.
It takes 30 years to get a Ph.D (if you rush), now that person has only 60 years (MAX) to work helping to push humanity forward. Now imagine if we change that number to infinity. Now the Minimum requirement for all jobs is a PH.D The speed of technological breakthroughs would become blinding.
Imagine if we still had Einstein around to help us to understand his theories, some of which we still do not fully understand even after he has written so many books about.
dkella .... you're right about putting stress on the liver but if the liver is not overlooked and detoxed as well (it's a filter), then the process of doing it right and not overlooking the health of that vital organ is achieved. Nothing wrong with cleansing and detoxing if it's done thoroughly. The problem is a lack of education. Should I be seeing my doctor to overcome that one ?
@jaydub. I don't mind being called out. Not at all, and I don't mind being challenged in the slightest. Challenge brings forth change, that of which those that take the words written on pieces of paper by many many people as opposition. Why is it that only certain people of certain faiths have issues with progress? The church afterall killed anyone that went against it's teachings, they did this for many many many years, why? If the church was interested in more than control, why all the lying, cheating, stealing, murder, forced conversions, witch hunts, etc etc etc. Religion, most at least, as only brought about pain and suffering in the name of salvation. Sorry, but *if* there is a god, those that have killed in it's name, are not going to be "saved". Take a look at your history before you try to say that the books you are calling out as fact are even remotely anything more than fables and controlling words to keep the populous at bay. Sorry buddy, believe what you want, but there is a reason why the word LIE is in beLIEve, because those blind to truth only have lies to live on.
There is some food for thought for you. And as far as teaching quantium level information to a child. The child will only ask what the child can understand. I have 2 by the way, One a high level autistic, the other a certified genius at 11. So, yeah chew on that for a while.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
In reaing this quote that was posted by " "@brublr Unknown entities cannot be introduced to explain other unknown entities. William of Occam".
I thought my comments had merit, but yes they are unknowns. So, I was entering unknowns into the science of this article and well I was just wrong for doing this.
So there ya go.
Oh lastly, I really like the ART WORK of this article. Pretty COOL!
Enough of this religious garbage, BubbaGump, it doesn't belong here, it belongs in sites devoted to fiction. If you continue preaching pseudo scientific gutter trash without any basis in reality or evidence to support your supernaturalist claims, I'll have you reported.
1) Adam and Eve never existed. THis is an established fact. All humans beings today descended from a common ancestor with other hominid species, and ultimately all life on earth shares a common unicellular ancestor. This is well established within the scientific community. The bible is just plain wrong.
2) Human beings did not live to the ages of 900 in ancient times. There is zero evidence for this, and it is demonstrably physiologically impossible to do. Again, the bible is just plain wrong here, and these claims were not "observations", these claims were the fantasies of piss stained bronze age nomads who couldnt count to 6 properly.
3) You are lying about a "global flood" as well, another mythological piece of nonsense written in the holy babble. There was never a global flood. There isn't even enough water on the planet contained in both the glaciers and the icecaps for a global flood to be even possible. Not all cultures recorded a "global flood". In fact, cultures back then were not globalized, and few understood how large the world is. Recording a local flood doesn't signify there was a global flood. Sorry. It is utter pseudo scientific bollocks. There was never a global flood.
4) There was never a gargantuan wooden boat constructed by a 900 year old geezer housing millions of animals. Again, total gutter trash mythology here. No evidence for it whatsoever. A fairy tale.
5) "That a great quantity of people" consider the bible to be truth doesn't mean anything. A great quantity of people used to believe that storms were the result of an angry thunder god, or that the Black Plague was punishment for their sins, and so they sat on their bottocks and 25 million people died as a result. It was only when someone was smart enough to figure out the connection between rats and disease that people began to take proper precautions such as public hygiene and sanitation that the problem began to be addressed. In other words, religions beliefs are entirely useless forms of knowledge, similar to any book of fiction. Science on the other hand, works. Paying attention to reality, instead of biblical mythology works.
6) The flood never happened and people did not live longer "before" the nonexistent flood. Anyone who lived 1000 BCE would be lucky to make it to 35. A 100,000 years ago, homosapiens as a whole had lifespans averaging 27 years. that the Bible says otherwise is irrelevant. The Bible is wrong. That the Harry Potter series mentions Hogwarts does not make Hogwarts a real place.
7)"Religion grows the inner person". No, religion doesn't do anything but litter the mind with mindless mythological rubbish and utter guff. At best it was a tool invented to make us complacent about our own mortality.
8)"History" and supernaturalist claims made by ancient cultures is not "science". Science relies on robust evidence and reproducible experiments and observations. Some ignorant 3000 years ago scribbling down a bunch of stories trying to make sense of the world around him is not "evidence".
9)Sumerian king living to 36,000? You do realize that you just linked an article on mythology, right?
"how did the ancient humans live so long?"
You really want to know? Here's how. They never did. It is a fable, like the 3 little piggies and the Little Red Riding Hood. They didn't happen. They were the fantasies and imaginations of a small number of people who were privileged to become scribes while everyone else was a peasant toiling away in the fields.
10) Your rant about the aliens is especially amusing, but devoid of any evidence. Just like Santa Claus and the boogeyman.
11) "He speaks to us all and if we have trouble hearing, the limitation falls to us being so imperfect and well, ant like."
"He" does not speak to us. We do not have any trouble hearing, there's just nothing there to listen to.
12)"Unless billions of people all have an imaginary friend, which really seems unlikely,to me."
It's incredibly likely, especially when people are indoctrinated from a very early and vulnerable age before they adopt critical thinking skills, which pretty much every religious person has. Had you been born in a different time or place, you could've easily been raised a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Taoist or part of some animist belief system. Of course, all of the hundreds of religions people around the world subscribe to cannot be right, all of them are completely devoid of corroborative evidence, and the most rational conclusion to come is that none of them are correct, and are simply the byproduct of ignorance of the natural world.
13) "Why in the world did that pause in their own daily lives and feel the need to scribe down how old some was, unless it really caught there attention!" BECAUSE THEY MADE IT UP! HOW DOES THAT NOT REGISTER WITH YOU? YOU DO REALIZE FICTION HAS BEEN AROUND FOR AS LONG AS WRITTEN LANGUAGE HAS RIGHT? RELIGION and MYTHOLOGY are a form of FICTION. They wrote about ridiculously long lifespans because it is what they DESIRED. It was an impossible dream and an unattainable aspiration for them. It's called human imagination at work, just like your nonsense about intergalactic Aliens landing on the planet and breeding with women. Just like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. If civilization got destroyed today and thousands of years from now, and some clueless post-apocalyptic citizen found a copy of a novel written by Tolkien, it is entirely possible that they too would mistaken it as some sort of "observation" by an ancient culture. Except too bad that it isn't. It isn't anything more than a piece of fictional literature and a great imagination at work. It has NO relevance however to reality.
14)"But the fact remains they saw it and felt is extremely important. " No, there is no "fact" that the saw it. There is a claim, and claims can be made up. We cannot verify that their claim was correct, and all archeological, biological, and anthropological evidence shows that it wasn't. Just because something was written down or passed on does not make it true.
15)"People hate when I get going.... if it offends you, just ignore me." No, I will report every one of your posts if you continue preaching your pseudoscientific religious nonsense. This is a popular science magazine, we're here to stay on topic and discuss the relevant scientific knowledge and breakthroughs put forth by the article, not start cribbing from mythological texts like the Bible.
In fact, most Christians today would consider you an odd ball, since very few of them take the Bible literally. Almost noone believes the utter nonsense written Genesis anymore. For most believers it's at best allegorical and metaphorical.