Humankind has throughout its history sought to prolong lifespan and longevity. Major healthcare resources are spent each year to identify ways to prevent and treat illnesses. Likewise, entire industries have now evolved within the anti-aging sector that cover a range of interventions. One end of the spectrum focuses on diet, activity and lifestyle while the other explores medicines and cutting-edge procedures. But over the last many years, a new segment of this market has appeared involving anti-aging technologies. And there are a handful of entrepreneurs against aging leading the way, pushing the envelope in human longevity efforts.
Notably, all of these entrepreneurs against aging all share a passion for expanding the human lifespan. But how each one is approaching these goals using anti-aging technologies differ significantly. Some are interested in genomics and biological cellular reprogramming. Others are attempting to design new drugs and therapeutics that can overcome aging effects. And some are exploring tissue regeneration techniques using plasma exchange and blood swapping. Fueled by artificial intelligence, machine learning as well as medical science, these endeavors are actively being pursued. And according to these entrepreneurs, finding key anti-aging secrets is only a matter of time.
Aging Targets for New Anti-Aging Technologies
As seems evident to us all, aging is associated with a progressive decline in function and abilities. Organs and tissues are less able to perform at peak performance. Likewise, the capacity for tissues and cells to regenerate themselves also decreases. This is more evident in some tissues than others, but all organs experience this. At a cellular level, metabolism debris builds and accumulates over time, impeding cell function. Inflammation and immune processes also result in damage to cells, tissues and organs as well. And there appears to even be “age-clocks” within cells that contribute to the planned decline. Given this, it’s clear that aging is a complex process with many moving parts.
For entrepreneurs against aging, these insights (thought limited) offer potential opportunities for success. While science has yet to well-define precisely what results in human aging, there is plenty of theories. As such, a number of startups have recently been pursuing some novel approaches using anti-aging technologies. Alongside researchers in medicine, all are racing to find the secret sauce that might slow or even halt aging. In fact, some entrepreneurs against aging are even using themselves as test subjects in the process. This highlights their passion (and perhaps personal anxieties) in their pursuits.
The Promise of Plasma Exchange
One of the potential anti-aging technologies being explored involves that of plasma exchange. Of course, the concept of exchanging blood products with someone healthier or younger isn’t new. But some entrepreneurs against aging continue to invest in their ventures since some science appears to support this. Specifically, studies involving mice have shown that infusing blood from younger mice into older ones was beneficial. Their cognitive function, metabolism, and bone structures all improved. However, these studies are limited in number, and similar results have yet to be shown in humans. There have been some limited studies involving human subjects with Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. These were shown to be safe, and there were some slight but notable benefits. Despite this, the jury is still out on whether this represents a feasible approach to anti-aging.
One of the pioneers in this area is Bryan Johnson, who is reported to spend millions each year on anti-aging technologies. As one of the more prominent entrepreneurs against aging, Johnson made his fortune through his startup Braintree. Braintree created Venmo, which was then purchased for a sizable sum. With his earnings, he launched Project Blueprint to explore new diagnostics and therapeutics to slow aging. He is a strong believer in plasma exchange as well as lifestyle to achieve these goals. In fact, Johnson recently underwent a tri-generational plasma exchange with his son and father. In short, Johnson’s son donated a liter of his own plasma, which was placed in Johnson himself. Johnson then provided his father with a liter of his plasma subsequently. The hope is that the exchange will improve wellness and slow aging over time.
An intriguing thing about Project Blueprint is Johnson’s approach. He is not only using himself as a test subject, but he is approaching things in a very objective way. He is documenting and recording such trials through extensive metrics and recordings. Likewise, he has a team of scientists examining the effects of these anti-aging technologies. Over time, he hopes other researchers can expand on his efforts to define the benefits of plasma exchange Of course, he anticipates finding his own breakthroughs as well. This is why he is considered among the top entrepreneurs against aging today.
Other Notable Startups Against Aging
Project Blueprint is far from the only startup launched by entrepreneurs against aging. In fact, several now exist with many pursuing different strategies and anti-aging technologies. It is well known that Google has invested interests in this field through their division Calico. Likewise, Human Longevity is a startup exploring genetic approaches to anti-aging. They now have the largest genomics database matched with phenotypes and clinical data. Then there is Samumed and Celgene as well. Samumed is researching ways to promote tissue level regeneration. Celgene is using placental stem cells to treat blood cancers as well as rejuvenate cells and tissues. These are the types of anti-aging technologies being actively evaluated in startups today.
There are plenty of other startups and entrepreneurs against aging that are pursuing more traditional approaches. Companies like Insilico and UNITY are developing pharmaceuticals that will hopefully slow or halt aging. Then there are others highly advances research labs trying to reprogram tissues at a cellular level via anti-aging technologies. In each of these instances, despite the variations, it’s evident this is a hot area for startups today. Combined with Big Data and AI, such efforts have great potential to succeed at least to a degree. With such research infused with an entrepreneurial spirit, it would seem the sky is the limit in the anti-aging sector.