Aging is the cause of many diseases and therefore needs to be treated and reversed. This is the opinion of David Sinclair, an American geneticist and professor at Harvard University. The RT program “SophieCo. Visionaries”, he said that he is engaged in clinical research of drugs that interact with“longevity genes”, and has been taking them with his relatives for several years. Sinclair said that it is necessary to activate the natural defense mechanisms of the whole body to increase life expectancy, but admitted that the long-term consequences of his experiments are still unknown.
- You propose to consider aging as a disease that can be treated. What makes you consider this a disease and not just a natural life process?
- Aging is like any other disorder of the body, due to which we get sick and eventually die. For the first time, we have an understanding of what causes it and how to slow it down, and potentially how to treat and reverse this process. This is important because aging is a major cause of all the diseases we fight. And instead of trying to stop them one at a time as they appear and wait until we collapse into the abyss, why not make sure that we, in principle, do not end up on its edge?
- You are experimenting with NAD-plus. If I'm not mistaken, this is a molecule that helps to maintain cell health, and its content in the body decreases with age. That is, it turns out that if we start taking pills with this molecule, then we will stop aging?
- A person has genes that prevent aging, we call them "longevity genes." In my lab at Harvard, we work with a group of proteins called sirtuins. And so that they can effectively slow down aging and protect us from disease, the NAD molecule is required. Supplements can be taken to increase NAD levels in the body. We see that they slow down aging and have effects comparable to the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition - but only from experiments with animals.
Clinical research is currently underway at medical facilities at Harvard and abroad. And I hope that in the next year or so, we will receive confirmation not only of the safety, but also the effectiveness that we see in experiments with mice. So the time is very interesting now. Hundreds of studies are being conducted around the world on the effect of molecules on the human body in an attempt to slow down the aging process.
- Why hasn't your anti-aging drug been launched into mass production yet? I know that you and your loved ones accept it. Are there any risks here that still need to be dealt with?
- The problem is that we cannot yet say with certainty whether these supplements work, so I am doing clinical research. As a result, this will provide a drug that doctors can prescribe to patients, since it will be proven that it is effective for most, or at least a certain number of people. First, it will be prescribed for the treatment of diseases - since aging itself is not yet recognized as a disease for which medications are prescribed. You asked why it is not widely used. Because we have to prove its effectiveness. But based on the promising data that exists, many people, including my family, decided to give it a try. We believe that if we don’t do anything, it will only get worse. Although there is a certain risk here: unforeseen side effects are not excluded.
- Let me ask you: how long have you been taking this drug and how old are you - so that I can understand how this drug works.
- So, I'm 103 years old … give or take. Well, I would like to say so. To be honest, I'm fifty years old. And you are the judge. I don't have gray hair - that's a good sign.
- Look amazing!
“My father is eighty and in great shape. As for my appearance … Remember, I grew up in Sydney, Australia, where I was exposed to a lot of sun and was badly sunburned, and I must have a lot of wrinkles. So so far so good. But this is not yet proof of the effectiveness of the drug. And by the way, I want to note: I do not do any sports, but the doctors say that physiologically my body is like an athlete. So for now, I can say that my father and I are doing well. This does not harm our organisms.
- Write down to me what you accept! I like the result. So, at the moment, this remedy has no side effects? Or is this issue still insufficiently studied? Perhaps too little time has passed to figure it out?
- Every molecule that enters our body can be dangerous to some extent. Even food, because it contains pesticides. We consider our tool to be at the bottom of the risk rating scale. The molecules that my father and I take are of natural origin, they are produced by our bodies. We are only trying to restore what is lost over time, to return the body to a younger level.
- I don't know what you think about it, but now many people are addicted to hormone therapy and take the so-called growth hormone. Does your drug look like growth hormone?
- In fact, this drug has a completely different effect. We are talking about a kind of activation of the natural defense mechanisms of our body to fight disease and aging. This technique has a long-term effect. Many different studies around the world, involving both animals and humans, show that restricting calories and intermittent fasting prevent aging. You can do this, or you can accept these molecules.
Growth hormone backfires. It stimulates the growth of the body, but it does so at the expense of the pathways to longevity that we are studying. Yes, this hormone has certain short-term benefits: you get stronger, you fall less often - which is what older people need. However, in the long term, which interests me in my research, it turns out that the body works for wear and tear and energy is not used in a way that contributes to its longevity.
“You are also researching partial reprogramming of cells, literally telling the old cells of the body that they are young, and they begin to behave accordingly. How realistic is this anti-aging method?
“We learned that we can reprogram the body so that it becomes young again. And this is not a temporary effect - we are talking about a complete reboot. In our cells, we kind of found a reserve hard drive with a youth reserve.
We are currently using gene therapy. The tests are carried out primarily on mice. And we can, say, reprogram their eyes: put a combination of three genes in the eye of an old mouse, turn them on for a few weeks, and it will start seeing again. However, the long-term consequences are still unknown. Nevertheless, the very fact that we managed to find a backup copy of youth is extremely interesting, by turning it on, it is possible to restore the functions of such a complex organ as the eye.
- Let's say reprogramming cells and increasing the level of NAD-plus in the body will help to set the clock of our age back: a sixty-year-old person will feel like fifty, a forty-year-old person thirty, and so on. But is it possible to stop aging completely? Or can it only be slowed down?
- If you asked me this question a couple of years ago, I would answer: “There is no way we can stop aging”. Today we still do not know how to do this, but we have learned to reprogram cells so that they become very young again. And we can make sure that at least the eye of a one-year-old mouse (and such a mouse is already considered old) returns to a state of a couple of months. And now, in response to your question, I can say: "It is theoretically possible that the body can be rebooted several times." We rebooted the eye once, but now we're checking to see if it can be done twice, three times - or maybe 100 times. The limits are still unknown to us. But the prospect of multiple reboots over a lifetime is inspiring.
- I understand that you do not promise that your technology will give you the opportunity to live forever, but how much could it increase your life expectancy?
- My colleagues get very angry when I say something like: "Someday we can live to be 250 years old!" It will not be possible to prove this, but with a certain degree of reliability I can say that the average life expectancy has increased greatly. A child born here in the United States today can expect to live to be 104 on average. And in Japan - up to 108-109. It is very interesting. But even more interesting is that if the breakthroughs that I am talking about today occur, the figure could be even higher.
- Tell me, will the cell therapy that you are researching help keep the brain young and healthy much longer than now?
- If my research was not aimed at protecting the brain, I would not be doing it. Our approach to medicine, to drugs, should be to activate the natural defense mechanisms of the whole body - from the skin to prevent wrinkles, to the brain to prevent dementia. And this is one of the first medical approaches to rejuvenate the entire body. I do not want us to find ourselves in a situation (and there is a trend towards it now), when there are more and more people with dementia in nursing homes, whose hearts are working normally.
- Nowadays, the rejuvenation industry caters mainly to the rich and famous. If the ultimate anti-aging method is developed, will ordinary people be able to afford it?
- Yes, this is a serious problem. And I try to convey to other representatives of this industry and to world leaders the idea that such a development should not be allowed. Otherwise, we will live in a world where only millionaires and billionaires will have access to this technology. They already have much more opportunities in this area than most people. Such a situation must not be allowed to develop. Otherwise, some kind of dystopia awaits us, where the children of the rich (and even their pets!) Will live longer than ordinary people.
However, there are already drugs (and some of them are already on the market) that promote longevity and slow aging. These are, for example, medicines for the treatment of diseases such as diabetes … In this case, one pill will cost only a few cents. And if we recognized aging as a disease, then doctors could prescribe these drugs … And this, in turn, could extend the healthy life of patients by five to ten years.
- But could it not be dangerous to simultaneously increase the life expectancy of a large number of people? Already now we are faced with the fact that in many countries older citizens overtake young people in number …
- Every time new drugs appear, society starts to worry about what might happen if life expectancy increases. According to my forecasts, there will be no problems with the population level - it will stabilize. The healthier people become, the fewer children they have, especially in developing countries. In addition, the retirement age will change, and in such a way that people can start a new career and pursue their hobbies or social activities.
- Record holder for longevity Zhanna Kalman lived one hundred and twenty-two years. It is known that the life expectancy of her relatives is also above average. It turns out that longevity is also determined genetically, and therefore is passed on to descendants?
- This is partly true. Typically, people who live more than a hundred years have a favorable genome that promotes longevity. However, life expectancy is only 20% dependent on genes, and the rest - on the person himself. Someday such longevity - 110 years, or even more - will become available to many.
For the full interview, see the RTD website.