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Now, doctors at Harvard, MIT, Penn, Scripps, and Johns Hopkins are working on the ability to switch on the "immortality gene.”
According to Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard's genetics department, in light of recent medical breakthroughs, "There is no limit on human lifespan."
Is It Possible to Live Forever?
"Every cell in your body has an 'immortality gene'," Robinson says. "When it's switched on, your cells don't age. In fact, they become biologically younger."
Robinson continued, "So that's the good news. Here's the bad news. When we're born, we come with this gene 'switched off.'"
But there may now be a way to switch that gene on.
Doctors have been able to develop a four-injections-a-year treatment that could allow us to activate our own immortality gene.
This treatment is currently in advanced clinical trials. It could be available for everyone in as little as 24 months.
By switching on the immortality gene, doctors have already seen remarkable results.
In the most recent clinical trial (released January, 2015) doctors at Stanford were able to reverse the biological age of 60-year-old human skin and muscle cells by 25 years. After just a "few days of treatment" they became indistinguishable from that of a 35 year old.
Harvard doctors activated this same gene in mice. It extended their average lifespan from 2 years to almost 4 years.
Lead researcher on the project, Dr. Ronald DiPino, called this the "Ponce de Leon effect," referring to the Spanish explorer who famously sought the fountain of youth.
Whether these treatments will lead to an extra 30 years of human lifespan, or if they are the first steps toward immortality, is still a hotly debated topic among scientists.
But what is clear, no matter who you ask, is that the field of human medicine is going to be dramatically different over the next few years.
And doctors aren’t the only ones researching immortality. Now, major venture capitalists are investing big, too…
Billionaires Invest Big on Immortality
Peter Thiel, hedge fund manager and founder of PayPal, recently made the shocking announcement that he wants to live forever.
"There are 100,000 people who die every day on this planet, mostly from things related to aging," Thiel said. "It's not going to happen to me."
It may seem like a bold ambition, but Thiel is not alone. More of the world’s richest are investing in biotech companies that focus on aging studies.
Both of Google's founders have similar aspirations. Sergey Brin has invested millions of dollars in a genomics company. Larry Page spent millions more to launch a company called Calico. Their goal: to cure aging.
Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X-Prize and International Space University, has recently founded a company called "Human Longevity Inc."
This company's sole purpose is to extend the healthy human life span as long as possible. And Diamandis is offering a $10 million prize for technology that gets us closer to that goal.
But you don’t have to be a billionaire or an employee of these biotech companies to take advantage of what these men are pioneering.