Aging & Longevity

World-Renowned Aging Expert Aubrey de Grey Thinks We Can Postpone Aging by 20 Years

Dr. Aubrey de Grey believes we have a 50% chance of postponing aging by 20 years within the next 12 to 15 years.

By Bennett M. Sherman

Key Points:

  • According to de Grey, a 20-year postponement of aging will allow humans to reach longevity escape velocity — our ability to use life-extension protocols to outpace the natural aging process, avoiding death from age-related causes.
  • de Grey also says that game-changing longevity treatments that confer bona fide postponements of all age-related chronic conditions will likely not arrive for 12 to 15 years.

The world-renowned aging expert Dr. Aubrey de Grey is perhaps best known for his view that some humans alive today may have access to medical technology that allows them to evade death from age-related causes. This perspective has likely spurred his work as a biomedical gerontologist, where he does research aimed at postponing the development age-related conditions — conditions that often lead to death — more effectively than current medicines.

In an interview, Dr. de Grey predicts a 50% probability that humans will develop a way to delay aging by 20 years over the next 12 to 15 years to fulfill the intriguing concept of longevity escape velocity. Longevity escape velocity will occur when new medical developments occur at a pace that people receiving the latest treatments avoid age-related chronic conditions indefinitely. Achieving longevity escape velocity will help fulfill de Grey’s view that some humans alive today will have access to medical treatments to avoid death from age-related causes.

Effective Longevity Treatments May Not Reach the Market for Another Decade or Longer

When asked whether anything is currently available that effectively treats aging, Dr. de Grey says the answer is murky. He adds that aging is not a single process but a bunch of loosely interconnected processes. Our current longevity treatments only address a portion of these aging processes, making some of them treatable sooner than others. At this point, treatments for easier age-related developments, such as lowered nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels boosted with precursors like nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), are under human trial investigations.

As such, supplements for some of these easier aging process targets are already available, and others will come in the next few years. Treatments for the more difficult-to-address aspects of aging may not come for another decade or longer, though, according to de Grey. In that regard, such treatments, which may come over a decade from now, for aspects of aging that are harder to address may result in the postponement of certain devastating, age-related chronic conditions to help us reach longevity escape velocity.

New Research Developments Have Stirred de Grey’s Excitement

Dr. de Grey says that the biotechnology research field is exploding with a myriad of new developments. As an example, he points to a new anti-cancer drug called THIO that targets cancer cells that produce a large amount of telomerase — an enzyme that extends the protective DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes and enables cancer cell replicative immortality.

THIO’s ability to kill cells producing large quantities of telomerase can result in the elimination of 90% of all human cancers, according to de Grey. At the same time, de Grey says this drug gets rid of basically no non-cancerous human cells. Excitingly, THIO is currently undergoing testing in human trials.

de Grey Does Not Use Any Longevity Supplements or Adhere to Strict Dietary Protocols

Although Dr. de Grey is currently 60 years old, he has a biological age much younger than his chronological age — an indicator of slowed aging. Even so, he says that he does not use any longevity supplements or practice a strict dietary regimen. This is not to say that he does not believe anti-aging techniques do not hold merit, though. His view is that, because of his naturally-achieved lower biological age, the wisest thing is to stay conservative and stick to what his body knows.

A Future Where People Do Not Die from Age-Related Causes

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit of information that Dr. de Grey provides in his interview is his prediction of a 50% probability of achieving longevity escape velocity in the next 12 to 15 years. If longevity escape velocity was achieved, one medical development that allows aged people to evade certain age-related medical conditions would buy time before the next discovery. As new discoveries would pop up, aged people could then theoretically escape chronic conditions of aging indefinitely.

This scenario would fulfill de Grey’s vision of people being alive today who will have access to medical technology that allows them to avoid death from age-related causes. While such an idea may sound preposterous to some, with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) that de Grey says is already contributing to longevity drug discovery, researchers have new ways to extend lifespan.

In this regard, one AI-based platform called AlphaFold predicts protein structures with high accuracy. AlphaFold can also predict how pharmaceuticals will interact with proteins in the body to help generate promising new therapeutic compounds against aging. AI-based developments like AlphaFold and their contributions to longevity research have likely fueled Dr. de Grey’s optimism for reaching longevity escape velocity in the not-so-distant future.


🍯 Exclusive: Aubrey de Grey interview. Ambrosia Path


Fan HC, Chang FW, Tsai JD, Lin KM, Chen CM, Lin SZ, Liu CA, Harn HJ. Telomeres and Cancer. Life (Basel). 2021 Dec 16;11(12):1405. doi: 10.3390/life11121405. PMID: 34947936; PMCID: PMC8704776.

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