Someone reading this could realistically live to the age of 150 thanks to leaps in technology, a leading longevity expert has claimed.
Dr Steven Cohen, who owns wellness clinics in California and London, claims he is coming tantalizingly close to harnessing stem cell therapy that can de-age people.
He claims the technology — which involves injecting people with exosomes, small vesicles that are naturally produced by stem cells — is just five years away and could revolutionize the anti-aging industry.
Other scientists have suggested people could one day live to the age of 200 and are exploring technology like pills to flush out ‘zombie cells’ and ways to tweak DNA to extend someone’s lifespan.
Dr Cohen said: ‘The ability to prolong or delay aging sounds like science fiction — but it is just around the corner and will soon be available.
The doctor, pictured above, said that the treatment will likely become available within the next five years
Pictured above is life expectancy in the US. It hit a high of 79 years just before the pandemic, but has since fallen to 75 years. It is the first reversal in decades of a sharp increase
‘We’ve been hampered a little by the belief that one must die sometime, and that you can’t live forever. But in reality, there are animals that do live for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years.’
Stem cells have helped to revolutionize the way we treat injuries, some cancers and brain diseases due to their unique ability to repair and regenerate damaged tissues.
They are found everywhere in the body, especially the bone marrow, standing ready to morph into the 200-odd types of cell that make up humans to repair damage.
But their numbers fall as we age, leaving older adults lacking the same regenerative capabilities as their younger peers.
This reduces the number of exosomes produced by stem cells, or the small bubbles that travel to injured, old or dying cells carrying vital proteins to help make repairs.
Dr Cohen described them as like ‘jet planes’ delivering aid packages to ill cells that take off from an ‘aircraft carrier’, the stem cell.
Scientists argue that having fewer of these in the body speeds up aging because cells are left less able to repair themselves.
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that boosting the numbers of exosomes slams the brakes on the aging process.
A paper published last year found that more exosomes in the body boosted brain function, while another from the same year suggested they could reduce frailty and help someone live longer.
Doctors have also linked having more exosomes to younger-looking skin.
Dr Cohen’s new treatment, which he says could be available by 2028, involves injecting someone with exosomes produced by younger stem cells.
The hope is that these bubbles — bursting with essential proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and others — will flow into organs and help to ‘de-age’ them, allowing someone to live longer.
There are also suggestions that they could revitalize the skin, making someone appear younger.
The procedure — when it’s available — will likely be priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.
It is unclear how long it may last, how many injections someone might need or how often they may need to return for top-ups.
Dr Cohen said: ‘The reason is related to the youthful exosomes of the younger mouse, transferring their packages of proteins to the older mouse’s cells, thereby repairing them, and making them more youthful.
‘The strategy is to do these kinds of treatments along the way, when we’re younger, and have more healthy stem cells which can release younger exosomes into our tissues to restrain the aging process.’
He added: ‘The human body has exosomes that repair injured tissue and are released from our stem cells.
‘As my partner, Dr. Tunc Tiryaki says, “Imagine a stem cell is the aircraft carrier”.
‘So, the exosome is the jet plane that takes off, delivering a packet of some type to the target.
‘Basically, when there’s a need from an injured cell, aging or dying cell, they send a signal out, and stem cells in response create an endosome from their cell wall, which collects the necessary material from the healthy cell to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and repair.
‘Then, the endosome is sent as an exosome back into the circulation with these supplies to aid the injured and dying cell.’
Dr Cohen slammed most aesthetic treatments for aging like plastic surgery, saying these simply ‘masked’ the inevitable signs of decline while doing nothing to actually slow it down in cells.
He said that, for example, when fillers are added to replace volume lost from the face there is very little impact on how our cells and tissue age as they only camouflage the process.
Scientists have been saying there is no reason humans can’t live beyond their natural lifespan for years.
The oldest known person — the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who sold canvases to Vincent Van Gogh when she was a girl in the late 1800s — lived to the age of 122, dying in 1997.
One particularly promising area is in the development of drugs that remove ‘zombie cells’ in the body, which are thought to be the main culprits of tissue and organ decay.
These cells stop dividing like others but start to spew a cocktail of harmful chemicals, damaging and degrading those around them.
Pills that flush these out are already in human trials with scientists saying they could hit the market in as little as 10 years.
Another avenue for fighting aging is in the study of DNA in reptiles and cold-blooded mammals.
Michigan State University experts have begun studying dozens of different reptiles and amphibians — including crocodiles and salamanders — to uncover ‘traits’ in their genes that could also be targeted at humans.
Some experts also say that the eradication of big killers — like cancer, dementia and heart disease — could further boost longevity.
WHAT ANIMALS LIVE THE LONGEST AND HOW DO THEY DO IT?
The turritopsis nutricula jellyfish is technically immortal and could live for 1000s of years
The turritopsis nutricula jellyfish is technically immortal and could live for 1000s of years.
This is because it has a unique trait allowing it to revert its cells back to childhood after reaching sexual maturity.
The jellyfish, which is no longer than a fingernail, is able to reverse its own ageing process.
It means, theoretically, the only thing stopping it living for millennia is predators.
Scientists are still studying the exact way it is able to reverse the ageing process, but it is believed stem cells may play a role in the process.
Stem cells are cells created by the body that can change into any other type of specific cell.
They are the focus of research for several chronic illnesses, like heart disease, because of their potential to turn into healthy blood vessels and repair the organ.
The Galapagos tortoise can live up to 120 years old
The Galapagos tortoise — discovered in the island group where Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution — can live up to 120 years old.
Scientists believe one of the reasons behind its long lifespan is the way its cells work.
All cells in the body divide up to a maximum number of times before they stop changing and become a senescent — or ‘zombie’ — cell.
Scientists believe ageing is caused by having more cells become senescent over time.
If you put a human cell in a petri dish, it would divide around 50 times, whereas a Galapagos tortoise see its cells can divide more than 100 times.
The tortoises also do not suffer any natural predators in their habitat, meaning they regularly enjoy their full lifespans.
Saltwater crocodiles tend to live to the age of around 70 in the wild but can live up to 100 in captivity
Saltwater crocodiles tend to live to the age of around 70 in the wild but can live up to 100 in captivity.
Like the Galapagos tortoise, crocodile’s cells are particularly resistant to senescence.
This means they are unlikely to ever die simply of old age, with limits on their lifespans usually caused by external factors, such as habitat degradation or hunting.
Studies on crocodile gut bacteria also found it to have cancer-fighting properties.
And crocodiles are also apex predators, meaning they are not generally killed by other animals — other than humans.