Innovating aging: Promises and pitfalls on the road to life extension

Jan Vijg, Aubrey D.N.J. De Grey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


One of the main benefits of the dramatic technological progress over the last two centuries is the enormous increase in human life expectancy, which has now reached record highs. After conquering most childhood diseases and a fair fraction of the diseases that plague adulthood, medical technology is now mainly preoccupied by age-related disorders. Further progress is dependent on circumventing the traditional medical focus on individual diseases and instead targeting aging as a whole as the ultimate cause of the health problems that affect humankind at old age. In principle, a major effort to control the gradual accumulation of molecular and cellular damage - considered by many as the ultimate cause of intrinsic aging - may rapidly lead to interventions for regenerating aged and worn-out tissues and organs. While considered impossible by many, there really is no reason to reject this as scientifically implausible. However, as we posit, it is not only scientific progress that is currently a limiting factor, but societal factors that hinder and may ultimately prevent further progress in testing and adopting the many possible interventions to cure aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Life extension
  • Medical advances
  • Preclinical research
  • Regulation
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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