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Petition by Biogerontology Global to Declare Aging the Top Global Risk

Petition by Biogerontology Global to Declare Aging the Top Global Risk

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Biogerontology Global


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to support the petition created by our allies at Biogerontology Global, which aims to declare aging the largest global risk. The U.S. Transhumanist Party holds significant life extension as its first Core Ideal, and biological aging is the greatest barrier to significant life extension. Overcoming biological aging through the progress of science and technology is therefore the greatest moral imperative of our time.

 ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, August 21, 2020

Sign this petition on Change.org here


TL;DR: You have a terminal disease and so does everyone you love. Human aging kills more people (100,000 per day), causes more suffering, and harms society more than anything else – by a large margin. Scientific discoveries and technological advancements are making it clearer by the day that given enough funding and effort, human aging can be cured. In other words, we should cure aging and we can cure aging. For that to happen, however, a large cultural shift must take place in favor and support of the idea – which currently faces significant opposition and neglect. The Global Risks Report is an annual publication released by the World Economic Forum that ranks global risks. It is read by a large portion of world leaders and citizens alike. If human aging were to top this list of risks or, at the very least, make the cut, it would help the world see aging as an urgent threat and potentially save the life of whomever is reading this. Sign this petition if you want to help declare aging the top global risk.

Detailed Description:

Each year, the World Economic Forum, with support from Marsh and McLennan Companies, releases a Global Risks Report. This report, as the name suggests, includes detailed analyses and rankings of the greatest threats facing the world each year. Each major threat is referred to as a risk. The two-part centerpiece of this report consists of a ranking of the top 5 risks in terms of likelihood, and another ranking of the top 5 risks in terms of impact. There are also “trends”. Per the World Economic Forum, a “trend” is defined as a long-term pattern that is currently evolving and that could contribute to amplifying global risks and/or altering the relationship between them. Simply put, trends are not seen as the major global threats, but instead as factors that may influence them. In past years “population ageing” has sometimes been recognized as a trend, but nothing more.

The purpose of this petition is to get the World Economic Forum to not only recognize human aging as a global risk but as the global risk. Human aging kills approximately 100,000 people per day. In developed countries, 90% of all deaths are at the hands of age-related disease. How could it be that the largest cause of human death (by an immense margin) is not seen as the most pressing issue in the world? Not to mention, the amount of human suffering caused by the diseases of old age is arguably unparalleled. Why is this mass suffering and death justified rather than fought?

In 2020, the top 5 global risks in terms of likelihood were all environmental. Solving aging would significantly lessen these risks. Without human aging, people would not be planning to die. They would have a stake in the long-term future of the environment. This radical sociological shift could be the push humanity needs to start consistently making environmentally beneficial decisions. Overpopulation should not be a concern, as we have more than enough land and resources to accommodate a much larger population on planet Earth. More efficient methods of resource allocation are the remedy for current problems that are often falsely attributed to a growing global population. Additionally, emerging agricultural technologies such as hydroponics, which can boost crop yields by up to 11 times, and vertical farming, which can further maximize that factor, will continue to make it even easier to feed more people.

Without human aging, we would no longer have such a substantial portion of society that is sick and unable to work or enjoy the activities that they so loved in their youth. This could work wonders for global productivity. Not to mention, people who are not gripped by old age and stay in the workforce much longer than they do now would become more experienced than the workers of today, boosting global productivity even further.

People would be happier in a world without death by aging. They would have much more time with their loved ones. They would be able to have and achieve long-term goals without the inevitability of death by aging to get in the way. They would have the time to live fuller lives. Happier societies commit less crime, so that is another societal ill that curing aging could help dismantle.

Many of humanity’s greatest threats are directly or indirectly the result of human aging. If we were to solve aging, many of the global risks mentioned in past Global Risks Reports would no longer be major issues.

We tend to think of death by aging as an inevitability of life. However, scientists in the field of biogerontology (the study of biological aging), billionaire businesspeople and philanthropists, technologists, and many other professionals/activists are working to make death by aging optional. Science and technology have already drastically improved lifespan and health in recent years by a considerable margin; however, it can do more. The molecular mechanisms by which we age (The Hallmarks of Aging) have been identified by scientists. Interventions such as senolytic drugs have already been proven to counteract some of these mechanisms. Cellular pathways have been genetically modified to extend the lifespans of model organisms to the equivalent of 500 human years. Google has launched and given over a billion dollars to its subsidiary, Calico, which researches aging. Many other companies and nonprofits, including the SENS Research Foundation and Methuselah Foundation, are tackling aging or its subparts. Growing support and advancement makes it clear that humanity will cure aging eventually, but so many people die each day of aging that eventually is not good enough. We must cure aging as soon as possible to save ourselves and those we love.

This petition recognizes that a cultural shift at every level of society is necessary for leaders and organizations in this space to garner enough support to cure human aging within our lifetimes. If this petition were to succeed, that cultural shift would come easier. Between the large portions of world leaders and citizens that read and respect the Global Risks Report, many more people would recognize aging as a problem they can solve and should solve if the report were to name aging as a global risk. This would lead to increased funding to cure aging, more talented scientists and technologists joining the space, and a greater opportunity to cure aging within our lifetimes!

Aging is objectively the largest global risk to humanity in terms of likelihood and impact. We ask that the World Economic Forum recognize this and act accordingly.

Sign this petition to help forge a better existence for yourself, your loved ones, and all of humanity.

Learn more at @biogerontology on Instagram.

Proposal for Argentina to Declare a Mandate for Longer Life Spans and the Reasonable Treatment of Aging as an Ailment

Proposal for Argentina to Declare a Mandate for Longer Life Spans and the Reasonable Treatment of Aging as an Ailment

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A National Techno-Progressive Policy Proposal for Argentina to Declare a Mandate for Longer Life Spans and the Reasonable Treatment of Aging as an Ailment

Respectfully Submitted to the Ministry of Health of Argentina

The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) has been associated with public health initiatives and emerging-technology policymaking since 2014; we have many State-level parties, associates, partner organizations, and foreign ambassadors around the world. At this time in history and out of a sense of duty to the future, we are compelled to submit this public-policy proposal designed to not only enhance the public health and prosperity of Argentina, but also to make it a model for techno-optimistic progress around the world.

As such the USTP humbly submits this proposal to the Minister of Health of Argentina to work together to assure the prevention of future pandemics and jointly tackle broader health concerns with life extension as its goal. It is our intention with this proposal to encourage the Minister of Health of Argentina to declare a mandate for longer life spans and the reasonable treatment of aging as an ailment.

Purpose: This declaration promises to generate accolades from the global community for the Minister of Health particularly and Argentina generally as forward-thinking and serious leaders in the future of human welfare and scientific development. It will ensure that Argentina will be recognized as the world’s first techno-optimistic, progressive constitutional democracy. 

Benefit to the Argentine Government from accepting this proposal: The USTP holds that this bold declaration will further enhance Argentina’s status in the Western Hemisphere. Aside from the importance to humanity that this declaration provides in the name of Science, it will act to promote tourism and investment, and to encourage more civic undertakings from an increased interest in Argentine affairs.  

The USTP will be approaching the governments of San Marino and Liechtenstein to persuade them to make similar declarations in the wake of this worldwide pandemic. However, we are reaching out to the home country of Salvador Mazza to champion this cause to inspire other nations to follow your lead and provide citizens with a new level of public health services and longer lives. 

We look forward to your response and the potential of working with Minister Ginés González García and his capable team.

Signed, 

Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party

J. Ben Zion, Vice-Chairman and 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate, United States Transhumanist Party

Charlie Kam, Director of Longevity Outreach and 2020 U.S. Vice-Presidential Candidate, United States Transhumanist Party

Tom Ross, Director of Media Production, United States Transhumanist Party

Pavel Ilin, Secretary, United States Transhumanist Party

Daniel C. Elton, Ph.D., Director of Scholarship, United States Transhumanist Party

David Shumaker, Director of Applied Innovation, United States Transhumanist Party

Arin Vahanian, Director of Marketing, United States Transhumanist Party

B.J. Murphy, Director of Social Media, United States Transhumanist Party

Dinorah Delfin, Director of Admissions and Public Relations, United States Transhumanist Party

John J. Kerecz, Campaign Director, United States Transhumanist Party

Brent Logan Reitze, Director of Publication, United States Transhumanist Party

Dr. Christian Meniw, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Argentina

Henry Hoyos, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Bolivia

Keoma Ferreira Antonio, MSc, Ph.D. Student, Philosopher, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Brazil

Bill Andrews, Ph.D., President and CEO, Sierra Sciences, Biotechnology Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party

José Luis Cordeiro, MBA, Ph.D., Technology Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Spain

Alexey Kadet, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Latvia

Ojochogwu Abdul, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in Nigeria

Peter Wang, United States Transhumanist Party Foreign Ambassador in China

Paul A. Spiegel, J.D., Legal Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party

Micah Redding, Advisor on Religion to the United States Transhumanist Party

Elizabeth Parrish, CEO, BioViva, and Advocacy Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party

Newton Lee, Chairman, California Transhumanist Party, and Education and Media Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party

Rich Lee, Biohacking Advisor to the United States Transhumanist Party

Daniel Yeluashvili, Climate Advisor to the Ben Zion 2020 Presidential Campaign

Michael Murray, Director of Environmental Science, California Transhumanist Party

Dr. Efi Roboti, Obstetrician-Gynecologist Surgeon and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Romina Florencia Cabrera, UNLP-UBA-UM-USAL,  Abogada,  Investigadora-Docente-Asesora-Consultora, Argentina, Chile e Iberoamérica

Raiany Romanni, Harvard Medical School, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Natasha Vita-More, Ph.D., Executive Director, Humanity+

Maria Entraigues Abramson, Global Outreach Coordinator, SENS Research Foundation

David Kekich, President and CEO, Maximum Life Foundation

Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist and Chairman, Novamente, LLC, Chairman, OpenCog Foundation, Chair, Humanity+

Sergio Martínez de Lahidalga Tarrero, President, Alianza Futurista

Alex M. Vikoulov, Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, Ecstadelic Media Group

Michael Hope, Biogerontologist

Matthew Schenk, Geroscientist and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

John Marlowe, Advocate for Rare Disease Research, Regenerative Medicine, and Rejuvenation Biotechnology

Elena Rusyn, Founder, AmpliCell Medical, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Joe Bardin, Essayist, Playwright, Communication Strategist, RAADfest Communications Director, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Dr. Ilia Stambler, Chairman, Israeli Longevity Alliance

Brent NallyEntrepreneur, Interviewer, Longevity and Health Enthusiast, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Didier Coeurnelle, Co-Chair of Heales.org (Healthy Life Extension Society), Vice-Chair of the Association Française Transhumaniste Technoprog, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Kelvin Ogba DafiaghorCEO, Ogba Educational Clinic

Osinakachi Akuma Kalu, Founder, Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussions, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Negash Alamin, Head of CAMIDRCS Nature Media and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Orji Ama Chinedu, Attorney in Lagos, Nigeria

Victor Bjoerk, Heales.org (Healthy Life Extension Society) and Gerontology Research Group

Martin O’Dea, Partner, Longevity Accelerator, and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Kevin Perrott, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder, Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation

Yifei Sun, President and CEO, International Institute for Innovation and Development

Brandon Michael King, Co-Founder and Organizer, Longevity Party United States, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Eric Schulke, Activist with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Maitreya One, Transhumanist Hip-Hop Artist and Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Jennifer Huse, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Tom Hite, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Kimberly Forsythe, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

James Kohagen, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Daud Sheikh, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Amanda Stoel, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Montie Adkins, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Mike DiVerde, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Chet Fontenot, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Christopher Browning, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Nick Dunn, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Art Ramon, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Renato Galindo Caceres, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Marcus Dreitzler, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Alexander Taylor Clayton, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Jason Geringer, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Dawn Gilroy, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Adam Perrotta, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

AtmaJodha Singh, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Andrew Eckley, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Allen Crowley, USA LTC (Retired), Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Erin Reeve, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

William G. Echevarria Fernandez, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Brent Ellman, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Thomas James O’Carroll, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Luis J. Arroyo, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Simon Stiel, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Alexandria Black, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Michał Szymacha, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Corbin Stefan, Dosimetrist, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Anthony Bruce, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Rima Martin, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Jiri Jelinek, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Quinn Cummins-Lune, Member, United States Transhumanist Party, Member, The Futurist Foundation

Mike Cockrill, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Zach Richardson, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Chris McAulay, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Justin Fontenot, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Valerie Handlers, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Jessica Gifford, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Joshua Gifford, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Zipporah Naomi Pecot, Member, United States Transhumanist Party

Hugh Ching, BS, MS, ScD

C. JoyBell C., Science Writer

Michael Beight

John Greenwood

Azure Michalak

Ryan Moisik

Kari Alatalo

Billy McCarthy

Fabian Pudlo

Walter H. Crompton

Adam Moser

Steven Mejia

Jeffrey Mercer

Marius Fusariu

Patricia A. Ray

Brett Mvrk

Kris McHale

Audrey Joyce

Mario Thibert

NOTE TO READERS: If you would like to digitally sign this proposal, please indicate this in the comments, or send an e-mail to USTP Chairman Stolyarov here. Please note that, if this is your first instance commenting on this website, your comment will go through moderation, but we will approve it in the near future and add your signature to the list above.

The USTP is the Wave of the Future – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

The USTP is the Wave of the Future – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

Gennady Stolyarov II
Steele Archer


On February 16, 2020, U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II spoke at length with Steele Archer on the Debt Nation show regarding the overall situation of contemporary American politics, the need to transcend the two-party paradigm, why supporters of Andrew Yang should endorse Ben Zion for President and join the U.S. Transhumanist Party, and how anyone seeking substantive political change, including supporters of Yang, Zoltan Istvan, and Bernie Sanders, as well as moderate Democrats and Republicans, should gravitate toward the U.S. Transhumanist Party by the time of the general election in November. They also offered their assessments of the coronavirus epidemic and how it compares to the many other diseases menacing humankind. Furthermore, they addressed forthcoming USTP campaign initiatives, such as ballot-access petitioning drives in as many U.S. jurisdictions as possible, and the USTP Discord server established on the day of the interview. 

Watch this episode here.

Join the USTP for free here, no matter where you reside.

Transhumanism and the Promise of Being More Human – Article by Arin Vahanian

Transhumanism and the Promise of Being More Human – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


Human beings have had an interesting relationship with technology. On the one hand, nearly everyone rightfully applauds and appreciates technology’s ability to make life more convenient, help us save time, and generally improve the quality of life and standard of living on Earth, among many other benefits. On the other hand, there are some people out there who believe that technology somehow threatens to rob us of our humanity.

However, I shall not attempt to argue with those who feel that technology is inherently detrimental to the human condition. Indeed, no matter how many benefits technology brings us, and no matter how much it improves our lives, there are no doubt people out there who will lament the time when technology was less ubiquitous.

While I fully recognize that runaway technology left in the wrong hands poses a danger to humanity, debating the pros and cons of an increasing technological future is not the focus of this article, though it is a very worthy (and necessary) discussion in its own right.

Rather, today I shall present an entirely different argument: that technology, and, in a narrower sense, Transhumanism, can accentuate the aspects and characteristics that make us human, and indeed, allow us to better enjoy the experience of being human.

At first glance, this may appear to be a controversial argument. After all, as some critics ask, aren’t developments like robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence at odds with being human? And, according to some detractors, isn’t Transhumanism a movement that will lead to people becoming less human and more machine-like?

Of course, both statements above are absurd, and complete red herrings. If we accept the fact that Transhumanism is a movement and philosophy focused on improving the human condition, then we must also accept the premise that Transhumanism strives to use technology to improve the human condition.

What makes we humans special is not just our ability to communicate deeply using language, but also, traits such as empathy, reason, and logic, as well as the ability to love. I would argue that we will be able to leverage future improvements in technology to improve all these areas.

While one could come up with a near-endless list of ways technology could help improve the human condition, I will offer just a few here, to spur discussion.

One way that comes to mind immediately is using technology to help the countless millions of people who are suffering from physical disabilities, and as a result, are unable to live a productive, normal life. The robotic limbs and exoskeletons you have heard and read about would go a long way toward allowing people to be mobile again, and would emancipate people from being bound to a bed or a wheelchair.  Imagine the happiness on the face of a child who is able to walk for the first time thanks to a robotic limb. One of the most heart-wrenching things for us to see is children who are suffering from physical disabilities. In reality, being disabled is an undignified way to go through life, no matter what one’s age. But not only would such technologies drastically improve the quality of life for people suffering from physical disabilities, they would also benefit humanity on an economic level, allowing people to be more productive members of society. It is for this reason that Transhumanists support unequivocally technologies that help people make full use of their physical, mental, and emotional faculties.

But if that example was too obvious, let’s take conditions such as autism and social anxiety disorder, for instance. While current treatments include behavioral therapy and medication, neither one of those has been very effective, and at best, neither is a cure. On the other hand, a technological solution would likely be much more efficacious. One such example of a potential solution that does not currently exist, but might be developed in the future, is the Computer-Assisted Social Interaction Enhancer, or CASIE, as introduced in the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A real-life use case for such an enhancement could be to allow people who suffer from autism to have improved social interactions, not to mention vastly improved communication skills. The implications of having good social and communication skills are enormous, not just in one’s career, but in one’s social life in particular. Part of what makes us human is the ability to connect with and relate to others. When we are robbed of this most human quality, this threatens to impact our quality of life quite negatively. What is most interesting is that it was a Transhumanist video game that proposed a potential technological solution to such social disorders.

And how about curing diseases through gene therapy? While some people are frightened of the prospect of gene modification, I imagine very few people would reject a cure for dementia, cystic fibrosis, and leukemia, especially if they and/or their loved ones were suffering from any one of these horrible conditions. To go further, I would venture to say that nearly no one in their right mind would argue that we should not cure devastating conditions such as dementia, cystic fibrosis, and leukemia, never mind the biggest killers, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Transhumanists have been campaigning for improving the human condition and curing disease through gene therapy and similar technologies. I would argue that there are few endeavors in life that are more humane than working on curing disease.

However, despite the fact that Transhumanist causes such as curing disease and improving the human condition are among the most noble causes we as humans can work on, detractors may respond with the objection that the requisite technologies do not currently exist, and that even if they did, they would be used for harm rather than good.

My response to this is quite simple: electricity did not exist, until it did. Vaccines did not exist, until they did. Many things we take for granted now did not exist until someone or some people worked together to create them. There is no reason why we cannot leverage science and technology to provide a cure for many of the conditions that afflict us today. At the very least, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to try.

And although a technology such as CASIE does not yet exist, imagine the implications if such technologies did exist. While these technologies could no doubt be used for nefarious means, we cannot simply deny billions of people the possibility of having improved relationships, better health, and a better quality of life, just because the possibility exists of a few unscrupulous people using technology to hurt others.

Equally important, technologies such as life extension, gene therapy and anti-aging medicines will allow people to spend more time with loved ones by granting them healthier, longer lives. I would imagine that living more years of a healthy life is an outcome nearly everyone would want.

As computer scientist Dr. Kai Fu Lee says in his monumental book AI Superpowers, “we must forge a new synergy between artificial intelligence and the human heart, and look for ways to use the forthcoming material abundance generated by artificial intelligence to foster love and compassion in our societies.” One could replace the term “artificial intelligence” with “technology”, and it would be just as true.

Technology can and must be used as a force for good. Similarly, Transhumanism, which promises to improve the human condition, can help make us be even more human by accentuating our human qualities, thus elevating us to be even greater than we are right now.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. 

Rejuvenation Research Is Now a Mainstream Topic – Article by Steve Hill

Rejuvenation Research Is Now a Mainstream Topic – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, originally published on August 26, 2019, by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), Mr. Steve Hill reviews an MIT Technology Review article authored by David Adam. Mr. Adam gives his view of the research field of aging, and Mr. Hill is impressed by the factualism compared to the MIT Technology Review’s previous articles that covered the topic. Mr. Hill goes on to discuss aging and lifespan in other species and address the question: Is aging a disease, and does it really matter?

~Bobby Ridge, Assistant Editor, September 9, 2019


It is a sure sign that the tide has turned when mainstream news outlets and magazines start publishing positive articles about aging research and the prospects of rejuvenation.

A refreshing change

Today, I want to highlight an article in MIT Technology Review in which the author, David Adam, gives a sensible and measured overview of what is happening in the field and manages to sidestep the usual negativity and misconceptions that often plague popular science pieces.

Since ancient times, aging has been viewed as simply inevitable, unstoppable, nature’s way. “Natural causes” have long been blamed for deaths among the old, even if they died of a recognized pathological condition. The medical writer Galen argued back in the second century AD that aging is a natural process.

His view, the acceptance that one can die simply of old age, has dominated ever since. We think of aging as the accumulation of all the other conditions that get more common as we get older—cancer, dementia, physical frailty. All that tells us, though, is that we’re going to sicken and die; it doesn’t give us a way to change it. We don’t have much more control over our destiny than a Cyclops.

But a growing number of scientists are questioning our basic conception of aging. What if you could challenge your death—or even prevent it altogether? What if the panoply of diseases that strike us in old age are symptoms, not causes? What would change if we classified aging itself as the disease?

The article skips the sensationalism and assumptions that many journalists typically make about aging research; instead, we get a solid piece of factual journalism. This is in stark contrast to the reporting done by this outlet a few years ago, as it had published irrationally skeptical and frequently negative coverage of the field and the science behind it.

This may be partially due to changes to the editorial staff at the magazine, which happened in 2017, but it is also indicative of the wider acceptance of the idea that we may be able to do something about aging. The same magazine has even published a special issue entitled Old Age is Over! – If you want it, which takes a deeper dive into the topic, though this is paid content.

There may be a choice about how we age

For millennia, it has been assumed that aging is a one-way street and that we must simply accept that there is nothing we can do about it, aside from facing age-related ill health with stoicism. However, the situation has somewhat changed. As researchers have discovered more about how aging works, the processes driving it, and the results from model animals, it has become increasingly clear to many people that something might be done about aging in order to delay, prevent, or potentially reverse age-related diseases.

We already know that a number of species do not age; this phenomenon is known as negligible senescence. This simply means that the organism does not show a decline of survival characteristics, such as muscle strength, mobility, and senses. Such species also do not experience an increased mortality rate with advancing age or a loss of reproductive capability with age.

These species tend to have much more efficient repair systems that are capable of offsetting and repairing damage rapidly enough to prevent it from accumulating and snowballing out of control as it does in humans. We are relatively long-lived as a species, but, compared to some longevity champions, such as the bowhead whale at 200 years plus, the Greenland shark at 400 or more years, and the ocean quahog clam, which lives at least 507 years, our lifespan is relatively brief.

So, the race is now on to see if we can develop therapies to repair age-related damage, slow down how fast that damage accrues, and see if we can emulate these kings of longevity. The key take-home message here is that there is no biological reason that humans might not live longer, healthier lives if such therapies are developed.

Exactly how long that might be is a matter of speculation; it could be a few years, a decade or two, or perhaps more. The key point is that the researchers who are developing these therapies are aiming to make those extra years healthy ones, and that is surely something that most people can get behind.

Is aging a disease, and does it really matter?

Some researchers propose that aging is a disease, and while this is a somewhat contentious view, it has some merit and is absolutely worthy of further discussion. We discussed if aging is natural or pathological in a previous article, and while the case can certainly be made that aging is a disease, it may more accurately fit the description of a co-morbid syndrome: a group of symptoms that consistently occur together and a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.

Whether or not they believe in either the disease hypothesis or maximum life spans, most experts agree that something has to change in the way we deal with aging. “If we don’t do something about the dramatic increase in older people, and find ways to keep them healthy and functional, then we have a major quality-­of-life issue and a major economic issue on our hands.” – Dr. Brian Kennedy

This matter is largely a matter of semantics, and the important thing is that, from a regulatory point of view, including aging as a disease state or syndrome would make it easier to develop therapies that directly target the aging processes themselves. Currently, therapies must focus on single diseases in order to progress through clinical trials, which is not the most optimal approach.

However, it is my personal view that this situation will not change much until the first successful human demonstration of rejuvenation therapy occurs. Until then, researchers will continue to work within the current regulatory system, and while this is, by its nature, slower, it does not prevent progress being made. Fortunately, there are now a lot of companies working in this space, and a number of therapies are quite far along in development.

A therapy that works in humans against one age-related disease by targeting an aging process directly could potentially treat a slew of other related diseases, and so any successful therapy making it through the system would likely rapidly see off-label usage for other, similar conditions.

Conclusion

In closing, it is refreshing to see more balanced and fair reporting on the field and the science of aging rather than the negative and highly biased material that this outlet had published prior to 2017. Reasonable skepticism is perfectly understandable, especially in a field as cutting-edge as rejuvenation biotechnology, which is charting unknown waters and attempting to do what has long been thought impossible.

However, the weight of evidence, the results of a myriad of animal studies demonstrating age reversal, and the rapid increase of scientific understanding should balance that skepticism in anyone interested in science and the actual facts. A magazine devoted to science really should be at the top of its game when reporting the facts, and this and other recent articles on the topic have been much closer to this mark. Oh my, how times have changed.

Steve Hill serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity, created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ Magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Keep Me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.

An Open Letter to the Transhumanist Community – Article by Arin Vahanian

An Open Letter to the Transhumanist Community – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


During the events that have transpired over the past few weeks, many of which have affected (and not in positive ways, sometimes) the USTP, Humanity+, and other organizations in the Transhumanism movement, I have mostly refrained from sharing my opinions and thoughts. However, I feel it is time now to share something that has been on my mind for a while.

But before I do so, I would like to express my disappointment at the level of discourse I am seeing in our community as a whole. Just a few days ago, the USTP released a statement condemning the vicious, vindictive manner in which someone in the Transhumanist community treated other members, as well as USTP Officers.

Instead of using this as a rallying cry for greater cooperation, an opportunity for increased self-awareness, as well as coordination on our shared goals, we now, yet again, have a candidate attacking another candidate, insulting their intelligence, not to mention their physical appearance.

Such petty, cruel behavior not only reflects negatively upon the person engaging in such behavior, but also reflects negatively on Transhumanism as a whole.

The sad truth of the matter, and what has been on my mind for a long while, but which I have been reluctant to share, is that many of the things that members of the general public dislike about Transhumanism, we have displayed here with great fervor, whether intentionally, or not.

Indeed, in some ways, we ourselves have become our worst enemies, treating each other with disdain, pretending that we are somehow more intelligent than others, disregarding the legitimate objections people have brought forward about the consequences of technology, ignoring how bizarre or unhinged some of our behaviors and actions may appear to the public, and being generally disconnected from the needs of the population as a whole.

However, it is not only a single candidate or person who is responsible for helping to create an environment in which arrogance, narcissism, unstable behavior, a lack of civility, pettiness, and a lack of empathy have persisted.

Sadly, we in the Transhumanist community are all responsible, because we have all allowed this sort of behavior to continue, over many months and many years. To be sure, this sort of behavior has been around long before this current USTP Presidential campaign started, but it continues, nonetheless.

One thing I have been passionate about and dedicated to from day one is to change the public’s perception of Transhumanism. To grow a movement that is small, into a worldwide force that is capable of great positive change, requires us to have a finger on the pulse of the views of the general public.

Vitriol is still vitriol, and venom is still venom, whether we sling it with bows and arrows, or whether we drop it like a bomb. We have no business complaining about the lack of civility in politics, in any country, when we ourselves are guilty of incivility. We should not lament the proliferation of cyberbullying when we ourselves engage in the same behavior.

We could say, once again, that the way we conduct ourselves in front of the general public influences greatly their opinions about Transhumanism, but this message has been nearly as ineffective as advocating for peace in the Middle East. We could say, once again, that we are a team, and that the shared goals we have are far more important than our disagreements with each other, but that doesn’t seem to have helped very much. We could say, once again, that humanity could benefit greatly from increased longevity, improved health, and the complete eradication of poverty, but even this, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to register with some people.

So let me put it this way, instead – the next time you think about hurling abuse at someone in our community, the next time you feel like getting even with someone for their past transgressions, consider the fact that in just a few decades, unless we achieve our objectives with anti-aging research and life extension, everyone here will likely be dead.

Dead, as in, they will no longer be able to hold a loved one in their arms. Dead, as in, they’ll never again feel the warm rays of the sun caressing their face on a summer morning. Dead, as in, they’ll never have the pleasure of tasting their favorite food again, or any food, for that matter.

In many ways, the movement has never been stronger. Transhumanism has been garnering more press coverage, thanks to the efforts of people like Zoltan Istvan. USTP membership has grown substantially in recent weeks and months, thanks to the leadership of Gennady Stolyarov. The work that pioneers such as Fereidoun Esfandiary (also known as FM-2030), Aubrey de Grey, Nick Bostrom, and Jose Cordeiro have done over decades has helped built the foundation for what we are able to do now.

Every time we attack each other, we dishonor the legacy the hard-working people in our movement have created. Every time we attack each other, it sets us back from important work we could be doing to help humanity with its greatest challenges.

Contrary to what some people may think, the work that Transhumanists are doing does not only benefit the Transhumanist community; it benefits people who don’t even know about us. It benefits people who are suffering from a rare disease and feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It benefits people who are struggling with crippling poverty, having to make a choice between starving to death or being homeless.

The indignation we may feel, righteous or not, at the lack of awareness and acceptance of our movement among the general public, isn’t the general public’s fault. It is simply because we have been unable, thus far, to clearly demonstrate, with a compassionate and unified voice, the many worthy and noble projects we are engaged in, as well as our vision, mission, and purpose. But there is no rule that says that this state of affairs has to continue.

Being able to demonstrate to the world the optimistic, humanitarian, and thoughtful goals of Transhumanism requires us to take a good look in the mirror and decide who we are, and who we want to be. But most importantly, it requires us to be optimistic, humanitarian, and thoughtful, ourselves. How we treat others is an indication, on some level, of how we look at the world as a whole.

Requesting that people be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness is not authoritarianism or fascism. It is called being a better human being. And one of the core tenets of Transhumanism is being a better human being. So let us start today, right now, by being better, not just to ourselves, but also to each other.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party. 

Meanwhile, in the 1600s… – Hypothetical Dialogue by Nicola Bagalà

Meanwhile, in the 1600s… – Hypothetical Dialogue by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by our guest Nicola Bagalà, originally published by our allies at the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) on January 24, 2019. This article provides an example of a family in the 1600’s having to deal with their children contracting and dying from a fever to shed light on anyone’s contemporary contention for curing age-related diseases. It’s easy for most of us in today’s age to completely support innovation that heals another from their fever before they die, when many would have considered that vile and blasphemous hundreds of years ago. Hopefully we can learn from history and accept that curing all diseases through medical science and innovation is morally superior. 

~Bobby Ridge, Assistant Editor, July 1, 2019

Many people are at the very least iffy about the idea of extending human healthy lifespan through medical biotechnologies that prevent age-related diseases essentially by rejuvenating the body. Even people who accept the possibility that such therapies can be developed are not convinced that developing them is a good idea, and there are only a few arguments that most people use. These arguments can actually be easily adapted to make a case against the medicine that already exists, which the vast majority of people on the planet currently benefit from—and the consensus is virtually universal that people who do not yet benefit from it should be given this opportunity as soon as possible.

The question is: would people who accept these arguments as valid objections to rejuvenation accept them also as valid objections against “normal” medicine? For example, how many present-day people would agree with what these two people from the 1600’s are talking about?


A – Did you hear about John’s son?

B – Yes, he came down with a fever and never recovered. What a tragedy.

A – Indeed. He and his wife had lost three other children to a fever before.

B – Oh, that’s terrible. Did they try to ask for a doctor’s help?

A – They couldn’t afford it for the other children, but when a fourth one became ill, they were so desperate about it that they did all they could to find the money. Anyway, not even the doctor could save the child’s life, even with all the leeches and poultices at his disposal.

B – Of course, I know nothing about medicine, but sometimes I think doctors don’t either. Their practices are a bit… scary, and as far as I have heard, most people they treat die anyway.

A – That may be, but doctors still have the best wisdom and techniques, at least for those who can afford them.

B – Who knows, maybe one day, doctors will actually know how to cure us for real. It could be as simple as drinking a potion or eating some sort of biscuit containing specific medicinal herbs, and in a few days, you’re back on your feet, no matter the disease.

A – That seems like fantasy to me. Doctors have existed for centuries, and they never managed to perform such miracles. If this were at all possible with knowledge and technique alone, wouldn’t one of them have managed to do so by now? Besides, perhaps it is for the best to leave things the way they are; doctors have gone far enough into God’s domain, and I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if they went even farther.

B – That is true. Surely, there must be a reason for all the diseases that plague us. Common folks are more affected, true, but they also take nobles on occasion. It’s difficult to say if this is because commoners sin more than nobles and that this is God’s way of punishing them or because they are more pious and God wants to call them to Himself sooner, but it is obvious that the will of Providence is at play.

A – Exactly. But I think there is more than this to it. Maybe the reason why diseases exist is to make our lives less miserable. Maybe they are blessings in disguise.

B – I don’t understand. They do cause a lot of suffering, not only to the diseased but also their families.

A – That is true, but how much more suffering would they endure if they went on living, especially among us commoners? It might explain why diseases affect common people more than the nobility. They live better lives, so it makes sense for them to live longer and enjoy it; but what about us? Our lives are harder and deprived of all the comforts and luxuries that rich people can afford. Is it worth living longer for us?

B – You speak truth, and I also think that if, one day, doctors will really be able to cure everyone of certain ailments, this will only make poor people’s lives worse. Very few people can afford the services of doctors even though they aren’t of much use; imagine how expensive it would be if they actually could cure you! Rich people would be healthy, and the rest of us would simply have to die knowing that they could be saved if only they had the money.

A – You are right, it is definitely better if there is no cure for anyone rather than a cure that is only for some. But, still, I dream of a day when medicine eventually becomes cheaper, or maybe the commoners won’t be so poor.

B – A day when even the likes of you and me could live in a fairly comfortable house, with our basic necessities covered, without having to work so hard every day to bring just a little food to the table, and while being able to afford the services of a doctor whenever we need one? You dream of Heaven on Earth, friend; it won’t happen until Judgment Day.

A – We won’t be able to achieve this ourselves, even centuries from now?

B – Again, it hasn’t happened until now, I don’t see why it should happen later. Even if it did, the consequences would be even more dire. It’s hard enough as it is to produce enough food for everyone, and if doctors could cure all diseases and everyone was able to afford these cures, there would be far too many mouths to feed. Therefore, in His infinite wisdom, the good God has decided that some of us must fall prey to disease.

A – I see your point, but in such a world where doctors can treat all ailments with their own knowledge, maybe we would be able to produce more food with less work, so that hundreds of millions, maybe even billions, could eat every day, while farming would not be as laborious.

B – You sure have a wild imagination! And how could that be accomplished, pray tell?

A – Perhaps there might be more machines that do work in place of animals, faster and better. Possibly even in place of people.

B – Machines that work the fields without a person maneuvering them? Walking water mills? Clockwork horses? Oh! How about a sewing machine to go with our spinning wheel? My wife would love such a thing, if it could ever exist.

A – We have some machines for some tasks. Why could we not have more?

B – Because they could never work, that’s why. I sure hope you’re never going to talk such nonsense with others, because not everyone has my sense of humor.

A – Maybe you are right. It was a bit of a stretch; windmills and water mills must sit where they are, after all. Diseases may be a necessary evil, as well. I’ve seen people who survived ailments like the one that killed John’s son, and as they grew older, their lives became more and more miserable. Old age was killing them more slowly and with far more cruelty than fever or plague. A poor old man dies on the street if he has no family to care for him or if his family cannot afford it. I would rather die the way John’s son did, surrounded by my loved ones, than as a crippled old man begging under a bridge.

B – Now you’re talking sense, and this is probably one of the most compelling reasons why we should leave diseases alone. Again, maybe it makes sense for the royalty to live that long, because they will not end up dying like old beggars, but for the rest of us, that would be a curse.

A – True. Besides, I suppose that at some point, one would get tired of living and would rather go. I guess this must be why even people who don’t die early in life eventually die of old age; even if you are part of the upper class, what can you possibly look forward to after you’ve seen your children and grandchildren grow up? Even if you know how to read and have a taste for music and the theatre, there are only so many books and so many composers and playwrights.

B – Precisely.

A – Yes, while being able to cure diseases might appear to be a good thing at first, when you think about it, you realize that it would not be.

B – Indeed, and this is what we must always remind ourselves of when disease does strike and sorrow makes us lose our objectivity.


The arguments presented by our two friends from the 1600’s are fundamentally the same ones that a lot of people bring up when they try to rationalize and justify the diseases of old age, saying that the defeat of aging might, at first, appear to be a good thing, but would actually not be that good after all. However, given the knowledge we have today, it is very easy to counter their arguments; in any event, not too many people would agree that the conversation above would have made a good case against vaccines and modern medicine, which have brought infectious diseases under strict control and save countless lives that would otherwise be lost on a daily basis.

Just like the arguments in the conversation above would not be a valid reason to give up on the medicine we are used to, they are not a reason to give up on the medicine of the future—the rejuvenation biotechnologies that might soon prevent and reverse the course of age-related diseases. Claiming otherwise is nothing but a double standard.

Nicola Bagalà is a bit of a jack of all trades—a holder of an M.Sc. degree in mathematics; an amateur programmer; a hobbyist at novel writing, piano and art; and, of course, a passionate life extensionist. After his interest in the science of undoing aging arose in 2011, he gradually shifted from quiet supporter to active advocate in 2015, first launching his advocacy blog Rejuvenaction before eventually joining LEAF. These years in the field sparked an interest in molecular biology, which he actively studies. Other subjects he loves to discuss to no end are cosmology, artificial intelligence, and many others—far too many for a currently normal lifespan, which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension.

Not Classing Aging as a Disease is Not a Major Problem – Article by Steve Hill

Not Classing Aging as a Disease is Not a Major Problem – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by our guest Steve Hill, originally published by at the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) on July 19, 2018. In this article, Mr. Hill does an excellent job explaining why the lack of the definition of aging as a disease under the FDA is not so bad as is sometimes feared. Personally, I do not agree with this. Relying on off-label use is not a good idea because that is much slower of a process than doctors quickly seeing that a drug has FDA approval. Once the FDA considers aging as a disease, pharmaceutical companies will quickly enter this arena and make increasingly better drugs. Mr. Hill makes some excellent points, though, and I highly recommend this article. 

~ Bobby Ridge, Assistant Editor, June 29, 2019

A common concern in the community is that the FDA, the EMA, and other bodies, such as WHO, do not classify aging as a disease and that this poses a problem for developing therapies that target aging. However, this is not really as serious an issue as some people would suggest; today, we will have a look at why that is.

Why this will not stop progress

Aging is a variety of distinct processes, damages, and errors; therefore, simply treating aging in clinical terms is not a viable endpoint. For a clinical trial to be conducted, it requires a verifiable indication, and aging is too general for the FDA and EMA to classify it as a disease.

It also is not a major challenge for damage repair-based approaches, such as those proposed by SENS and the Hallmarks of Aging, as these approaches are not focused on an all-in-one therapy with the indication of “aging”. They are based on a strategy of dividing damages into manageable groups and developing a suite of rejuvenation therapies that addresses each of them.

No single therapy will reverse or halt all of the aging processes when used alone, nor will it prevent all age-related diseases that accompany them. So, to have aging as an indication in any clinical trial would be pointless for any damage repair therapy.

Researchers are free to target aging processes

That said, researchers are very well aware that the processes of aging, which lead to the familiar diseases of aging, are a problem, and this is where the focus lies. There has been considerable effort to classify these processes and precursors of pathology as diseases themselves.

A prime example is the inclusion of sarcopenia (frailty and muscle loss) in the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases (ICD) a few years ago thanks to lobbying by members of our community. Adding more general codes to the ICD that include these aging processes and precursors is an ideal solution, as it could potentially make it easier to organize trials and develop drugs that target the aging processes.

Back in June 2018, the World Health Organization released the new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The previous version, ICD-10, was published in 1983, and the new ICD-11 will likely be the standard for years to come. The new ICD-11 now includes the extension code “Ageing-Related” (XT9T) for age-related diseases, and this should go a long way towards making focusing on aging easier for future drugs and therapies. Again, this is thanks to work by members of our community, who have spent countless hours researching and pushing for change.

Most aging hallmarks are very clearly linked to specific age-related diseases, such as beta-amyloid protein and malformed tau in Alzheimer’s, lysosomal aggregates in foam cells in atherosclerosis, and alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease. Companies are perfectly welcome to target these aging processes directly, and indeed more and more researchers and big institutions are doing just that in order to treat age-related diseases.

Therefore, not classifying aging itself as a disease poses few barriers to developing therapies that address aging; it’s simply a case of working within the existing framework. UNITY Biotechnology is a prime example; this company is targeting senescent cells and applying its method to multiple age-related diseases; as everyone gets senescent cells, these therapies will be broadly applicable once they become available, and off-label use is likely to expand rapidly.

Also, rejuvenation therapies could, at first, be licensed as treatments for genetic disorders, even though the root cause of the pathology underlying those diseases is not aging. An example of this is the inherited mitochondrial disorders, known as mitochondriopathies, many of which are caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). While these mutations are inherited and are not the result of age-related, deleterious damage to the mtDNA, the same repair-based approach can be applied: the allotopic expression of the protein in the nucleus, as proposed by MitoSENS, could potentially be used to repair the mtDNA allowing normal cellular function to resume.

The majority of damage repair therapies, if not all, could be developed as therapies for diseases with accepted indications and verifiable endpoints, which should satisfy bodies such as the FDA and EMA. Therefore, whether regulatory agencies perceive aging as a disease or not is of no consequence to the development of rejuvenation biotechnologies that address the aging processes.

This does not mean regulatory changes are not needed

Even though classifying aging as a disease is unnecessary, significant reform in the regulatory system is still needed in order to encourage investors and companies to put the time and money into researching and developing rejuvenation therapies.

One area in need of reform is the establishment of aging biomarkers, which indicate the repair or removal of age-related damage, as acceptable endpoints for rejuvenation therapies. Studies that use these biomarkers would also need to include long-term follow-up studies to ascertain the effects of a therapy over a longer period of time.

This would deviate from regulators’ normal requirements that therapies have to prove an effect on hard outcomes to be approved. In an ideal situation, patients should get rejuvenation therapies long before they are in immediate danger and once diseases have manifested, but this makes trials more time consuming and more costly to run.

However, back in February 2018, the FDA published a new guidance document detailing how early-stage Alzheimer’s patients might be identified, which, if accepted, would represent a significant change in policy and a step in the right direction. The document suggests that the results of imaging tests or suitable biomarkers could be enough to consider Stage 1 Alzheimer’s patients as suitable subjects for clinical trials.

This is a positive move as it means that therapies can be tested on people in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s rather than on those who have already suffered considerable if not irreparable damage to the brain, damage that no therapy could hope to address alone. This could mean that these early-stage patients could enroll in a clinical trial and take a therapy that could potentially prevent the disease from ever progressing further or reaching the point where cognitive decline begins.

In the case of repair-based therapies, it would then be a case of demonstrating that the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease were improved via the removal or repair of the underlying age-related damage, and suitable biomarkers would show this.

Moving with the times

Another area where regulatory bodies have struggled is keeping up with the rapid march of technology and medicine. Technologies such as gene therapies have struggled to gain traction due to an antiquated regulatory framework struggling to cope with them. Thankfully, this is also being acknowledged, and the regenerative medicine advanced therapies (RMAT) framework published earlier this year seeks to address this issue and make large-scale changes to how its regenerative medicine policy framework operates as a whole.

According to new FDA regulations, a drug is eligible for designation as an RMAT if:

  • The drug is a regenerative medicine therapy, which is defined as a cell therapy, therapeutic tissue engineering product, human cell and tissue product, or any combination product using such therapies or products, except for those regulated solely under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act and part 1271 of Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations;
  • The drug is intended to treat, modify, reverse, or cure a serious or life-threatening disease or condition; and
  • Preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug has the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition.

While the FDA created these new guidelines, we joined forces with the Niskanen Center to submit comments to the agency so that it would hear the voice of our community.

Conclusion

Aging not being classified as a disease by the FDA, EMA, etc. is not a major issue; the real need is for policy changes that make developing drugs and therapies that target the aging processes easier and more financially viable. It is good that changes are being made to current frameworks and that progress will almost certainly continue in these areas.

Meanwhile, we can continue to support the development of repair-based approaches to aging knowing that such therapies, if they work, will be approved even in the current regulatory landscape.

Steve Hill serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor-in-Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ Magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.

SVAI Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case: A Call for Bioinformatics and/or Computational Biology Researchers to Get Involved

SVAI Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case: A Call for Bioinformatics and/or Computational Biology Researchers to Get Involved

SVAI


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party provides this announcement to encourage any of our members and allies with expertise in bioinformatics and/or computational biology to contribute their talents to resolving the medical conundrum of one of our longtime loyal members, John – referred to in the Patient Case Background below as JCM – who has suffered from an undiagnosed condition his entire life. The Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case, arranged by the non-profit, volunteer-run organization SVAI, will take place on June 7-9 in San Francisco.  Find out more about this effort at breakthrough medical diagnosis – which could make a lifetime’s worth of difference to John – here. Even if you cannot attend the event in person, you can apply to participate in the research online here. John has generously provided for his data to be made available in an open-source manner so that future researchers into rare diseases could benefit from it and advance the state of medical science. Researchers have already agreed to study the data; one of them, longtime life-extension advocate Kevin Perrott, the CEO and Founder of OpenCures, a company located at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging that helps individuals performing self-directed research to access technologies and education, wishes to use mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and proteomics to find biomarkers of aging, and John has agreed to be a part of that project. John’s quest to discover the causes of his own ailment can thus lead to beneficial insights that could be used to research ways the extend the lifespans of all. The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party fully supports this noble effort and is heartened that many prominent researchers have already stepped forward to participate. However, there can never be enough trained and talented minds working on such endeavors, so, if you have the relevant expertise, we strongly encourage you to get involved.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, May 21, 2019


PATIENT CASE BACKGROUND

  1. Our patient, JCM, is a 33-year-old Caucasian male suffering from undiagnosed disease(s).
  2. As an infant, the patient, JCM reports a history of vomiting after breastfeeding and Failure to Thrive (FTT).
  3. Since childhood, JCM has had a significant issue in weight gaining despite adequate caloric intake, though his height has remained on the curve. As a child, he also has reported nausea, stomach aches and an overall aversion to food.
  4. In his 20’s, JCM’s GI issues became more severe as he began to have daily lower abdominal pain characterized by burning and nausea. He began to develop chronic vomiting daily and would vomit as many as 5 times per day.
  5. At his current age, JCM is 5’10” tall and weighs 109lbs. He is easily fatigued due to his limited muscle mass and low weight.
  6. He reports several issues: pain and weakness in his knees, a couple of disc herniations, and shoulder dislocations. His GI issues and pain prevents him from attempts on building muscle masses with lifting and protein intake.

Learn more about the Undiagnosed-1 Collaborative Genomics Research Case here. You are encouraged to share this information with others who may be interested and qualified to assist.

 

Wealth, Power, and the Prospect of Reversing Aging – Article by Arin Vahanian

Wealth, Power, and the Prospect of Reversing Aging – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


I often ask myself, “Why do wealthy and/or influential people seem to support spending billions of dollars on weapons and exploring outer space, when, with their massive wealth and resources, they could help reduce human suffering and dramatically improve the quality of life for billions of people?”

And this question takes me back to a discussion I had last year with gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, during which he recounted to me a meeting he had with an ultra high-net-worth (UHNW) individual. The purpose of the meeting was to raise money for aging and life-extension research, and the UHNW individual refused to donate to SENS Research Foundation, or even to get involved, stating something to the effect of, “It won’t happen in my lifetime.”

That response perplexed me. Here we had a very successful and intelligent person, who, rather than help ensure his own children (as well as others’ children) could live a healthier and longer life, refused to do anything, for the simple reason that he did not believe we could make much progress on reversing aging in his lifetime.

While this is indeed a selfish way to look at things, it is by no means uncommon. In fact, I have been racking my brain recently, trying to figure out why the people who are best-equipped to do something about life extension and aging, do not do so (or do not do enough).

To be fair, there are a few wealthy and influential people who support research into aging and life extension, the most notable being entrepreneur Jim Mellon. However, they seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Indeed, why do people like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk, who possess incredible resources and influence, choose to spend money and time on attempting to colonize hostile, uninhabitable planets hundreds of millions of kilometers away, especially considering that they and their loved ones (if they are lucky to live long enough) will die of aging-related causes such as heart disease, dementia, and cancer?

While I cannot speak for the aforementioned people, I believe there are several reasons why people in a position of power or wealth refuse to do much about supporting research on aging.

The first reason is that aging and death have been considered inevitable. Indeed, even though we have been able to put a human being on the Moon, we have been unable to prevent a single human being from aging. Enormously wealthy and successful people tend to be quite pragmatic, and so I imagine that they would not want to fund an endeavor or be a part of something they believed had no chance of success. However, we have evidence that we are making progress on this front, or at the very least, that reversing aging and implementing life-extension technologies are worthy endeavors.

In fact, in 2005, MIT Technology Review organized a panel of world-renowned experts (including molecular biologists) and offered a $20,000 prize to anyone who could disprove the SENS research program and demonstrate that reversing aging is not worthy of consideration. However, none of the contestants were able to do so. On the other hand, there is no evidence that human life is sustainable on any other planets in our solar system (while human life is perfectly sustainable on Earth), and by most professional estimates, it would take incredible technological advancements and financial resources to even enable people to temporarily stay on a planet such as Mars. We should also consider the fact that there have been no studies performed on the massive changes that would occur to the human body as a result of living on another planet.

Thus, it actually appears more realistic to work on reversing aging than it would be to work on colonizing other planets. But even if we are not able to completely reverse aging, what if we were able to slow aging? Wouldn’t it be desirable to have an additional five to 10 years of healthy life? Any progress we could make on life extension would be worth it, given that it would directly add healthy years to a person’s life. One thing is for certain – doing nothing ensures that very little will change, and that humans will more than likely continue living this average lifespan of 79 or so years (with very modest improvements over time), with much of it in the later years being in sickness and poor health.

Another reason for the refusal to fund aging and life extension research may be a rather pessimistic one. It is entirely possible that billionaires and governments are hedging their bets in the event that climate change or some other scenario causes wide-scale suffering (the likes of which have never been seen before) and a potential destruction of the planet, along with the rapid extinction of the human species. If that were the case, and Earth was about to be destroyed, it would make sense to pour resources into colonizing other planets. However, I think the likelihood of something like this occurring, at least in the near future, is extremely slim. Further, we have much evidence to support the fact that the planet could sustain a larger population and that technological improvements, as well as renewable energy, and seasteading, can prevent such an apocalyptic scenario from occurring. In fact, despite the challenges we are facing in terms of sustainability, we are making good progress, and it seems unreasonable to me to give all of this up, throw in the towel, and chase a pipe dream of living on another planet (when the one we have now is perfectly suited to human life). Also, given that we have the technology to save our planet from being engulfed in chaos and destruction, but do not currently have the technology to live on other planets, wouldn’t it make sense to save Earth first, rather than attempting to embark upon costly journeys to other planets, especially journeys that have little guarantee of success?

Yet another reason may be that many people, including those in a position of power, have bought into the idea of an afterlife. However, if we are completely honest with ourselves, there is no evidence that an afterlife exists, whereas there is evidence that we are making progress with reversing aging, even if that progress is arriving at a pace that is slower than we would have liked. With that being said, I would never want to deny anyone the right to believe in whatever they want. The question is, however, whether it is beneficial to adopt a zero-sum attitude to this matter. The fact is, believing in an afterlife and contributing to aging and life-extension research are not mutually exclusive. One can have any religious beliefs one likes, and subscribe to the idea that there is an afterlife, while also contributing to the beauty of existence here on Earth.

Finally, working on a cause such as reversing aging appears to not be as exciting as the prospect of exploring Mars, which is why people would rather update their LinkedIn (or Tinder) profile with “Entrepreneur” or “Swashbuckling Adventurer” or “Arms Dealer”, even, rather than “Gerontologist”.  In all seriousness, though, I have always found the idea of exploring faraway lands, as well as other planets, to be exciting. But if human beings are excited about exploring the unknown, shouldn’t we also be interested in exploring a process as complex as aging, especially given that there is much we still do not know about it? Also, the implications of making advancements in this field are huge. This is because the un-sexy work that gerontologists are doing will lead to us living longer, healthier lives, and so this very important work should not be ignored. In fact, it is a massive waste of resources to try to colonize uninhabitable planets at the expense of ensuring good health and longevity, when all of humanity battles with disease and death. It would even be more noble to focus our efforts on eliminating poverty (something that the Chinese government, for instance, has dedicated its efforts to).

I do not wish to dissuade anyone from exploring outer space, but neither should we avoid doing what needs to be done on our planet. I only wish to ask whether spending billions on space exploration is the best use of resources at our disposal, considering that there is still much work to be done here on Earth.

As mentioned previously, it should not be a zero-sum game. In an ideal world, we could dedicate resources to both aging research and space exploration. However, when the budget for NASA is $21.5 billion and the budget for aging research at the National Institute on Aging is $40 million, one has to start asking questions. Actually, one could argue neither budget is large enough, especially given that the U.S. Department of Defense budget is $686 billion.

Why do we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on missiles and bombs to combat a highly-exaggerated threat, when there is the absolute certainty that billions of people will suffer and then die, many of them prematurely, due to aging-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and dementia?

What makes exploring outer space so much more important than ensuring that billions do not die prematurely from aging-related diseases? Will picking up and holding red dust on a hostile, uninhabitable planet be more fulfilling than holding one’s child or loved one in one’s arms?

What does it say about our society when we are content to allow friends and family members to perish in undignified ways, while we dream about stockpiling as many weapons as possible, reliving fictional fantasies inspired by comic books and movies, and ignoring challenges here on Earth?

These are questions we must ask ourselves, and, more importantly, must demand those in power to ask themselves. At the end of the day, if we as a society are comfortable with the tradeoffs and decide en masse that dealing weapons and exploring outer space are more important than working on curing disease, reversing aging, and ensuring that everyone on Earth lives a dignified life, then we can rest assured knowing that we gave this most important of topics much consideration.

However, given the facts, I do not think we have reached that point yet. We have, however, reached a point where there is promise that we are making progress in fighting aging, and it is irresponsible and reckless to ignore these gains while entertaining fantasies of living on other planets. It makes little sense to try to live in a dignified manner on a dangerous, inhospitable, isolated planet that is not suitable for human life, when we are having difficulty living in a dignified manner here on Planet Earth (a planet that is perfectly suited to human life). The solution is not to dream about moving to Mars while leaving the elderly and unhealthy here to die. The solution is also not to increase defense funding, when we already have more weapons than we know what to do with. The solution is to help our brothers and sisters here on Earth live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. And thus, this is a call to action for those of you who are in a position of power or wealth and who can dedicate resources to ensuring that your loved ones, and everyone else’s loved ones, can live better.

One thing I would like to ask UHNW individuals and politicians is, what will you do with the great wealth, status, and power you have accumulated? Will you play golf and remark that “it won’t happen in my lifetime”? Or will you actually do something to ensure that your children won’t be doomed to a short life, during which they will suffer from debilitating disease and eventually die?

Arin Vahanian is the Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party.