Blog 18 Projects that reach for the gods, one step at a time by Award-winning Author, Adventurer and Scientist Mark Kingston Levin PhD
Immortality is a big deal, but many billionaires are reaching for it.
Figures 1. Shows Zeus (the immortal) as represented in ancient times.
PayPal co-founders Elon Musk and Peter Thiel are making news. Peter Thiel, also a billionaire, plans to live to be 120. It is a lofty goal, but does not compare to the ambitions of Dmitry Itskov, the Russian Internet billionaire who wants to live to 10,000.
Figure 2. Photo of Elon Musk, invested in Tesla and SpaceX.
Figure 3. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is planning to invest in anti-aging. Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, wants to cure death.
Their quests are based on new science and hype about how fast these changes will take place. Our hope for immortality goes back to the first civilizations in Egypt and China.
The project Calico at Google, headed by Sergey Brin, is aimed at immortality. However, Google could spend billions in a partnership with pharmaceutical giant AbbVie.
Figure 4. Sergey Brin is a co-founder of Google and President of Alphabet, the parent company. He is out to find immortality or something close: 10,000 years of a healthy life.
Even that could be topped by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov with Initiative 2045. The primary objective of the 2045 Initiative is to create a new strategy for longer lives or a move toward immortality. The method and speed of this dynamic Russian has capture the imagination of Mother Russia and half the world.
This sets up a futuristic world like the new Spielberg movie Ready Player One. The project is founded on five cornerstones: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technology. Anything that mixes religious spirituality with science I am very cautious of because there are too many chances for a scam.
“The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.” They go on to state, “We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.” I have doubts about the attempt to simulate accurately the “brain holder” in the near future of 2045, says Dmitry Itskov.
Even the sun and Earth are not immortal, so anything that promises immortality could be a scam like many of the last three thousand years: religious institutions that promise the afterlife for a fee. I am an atheist, so mark me as a non-believer. However, I am a believer in science.
Many other projects are trying to reach immortality. One of the most respectable organizations in the field, due to a real history, is the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, started in 1965. From 2007 forward, the Glenn Foundation has distributed annual “Glenn Awards,” $60,000 grants, to independent researchers, and gifts of a million plus to larger institutions such as Harvard doing promising work on aging.
Please see a couple of exciting steps toward future medicine. Telomeres are DNA caps on the ends of our chromosomes. The shorter they become, the older we are. Telomerase is an enzyme that helps make telomeres. Does that mean we can repair the telomeres and increase lifespan?
Dr. Ronald De Pinto at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas wants to keep mice in the Peter Pan state.
He and his team engineered mice with a telomerase on and off switch. Turning off the switch causes mice to age rapidly to near death from old age; then when they turn the switch on, Wow! The mice become younger. All organs regenerate. Dr. De Pinto states, “The brain increased in size, cognition was improved, fertility was restored etc.” Giving telomerase to a mouse was like finding a fountain of youth. Will it work on humans?
Amy Wagers, PhD, and Richard T. Lee MD at Harvard Stem Cell Institute identified a protein GDF-11 that can restore aging mice hearts to those of younger, healthier mice. Credit: B. D. Colen/Harvard University.
One of the common types of heart failure in older people is related to the aging of the heart muscle. The protein GDF-11 reversed the heart aging in mice. This is just one small step for the mouse, but a giant leap for science. I suspect the drug is about 8 to 10 years away from FDA approval.
In this blog, I reviewed a few published papers in the field of aging at some top national institutions. This blog does not rate the research, but the work has been on animals with almost no human studies. The work holds promise, and I monitor these activities as well as other approaches to age-related medicine.
Mark Kingston Levin PhD author of 30th Century series book 2 30th Century: Revived, which was release on Amazon April 29, 2018.
Dr. Levin won the IRWIN for the Best Science Fiction Book of 2017 for the first book in the series, 30th Century: Escape. To read the first three chapters, see www.markkingstonlevin.com.
For questions and comments write to Dr. Levin firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Levin was born and grew up in Vermont with many winters spent in Florida as a child. As a teenager he wrote poetry, served as a lifeguard and played football. He currently enjoys sailing, exploring underwater caves, snorkeling, writing science fiction and other pursuits. After working on the Apollo and Mars projects, he returned to school to study under Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac, obtaining his PhD in 2.5 years. Dr. Levin founded two companies and served the science policy apparatus in President Ford’s administration. He has been published over 44 times in scientific literature and was awarded over 32 US patents. The science fiction writer is now emerging with his first work, a trilogy titled 30th Century.
The first award-winning book, 30th Century: Escape, is currently available on Amazon both in its original erotic form BUY HERE and the new, toned-down General Audience Edition in both Kindle and in full-color print BUY PRINT HERE. Book two in the series, 30th Century: Revived, is available HERE in both e-book and print. Look for book 3 in the series, 30th Century: Contact, by early 2019!
NEW: Your opportunity to be part of the process! If you sign up to be a Beta Reader, I will email you an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Book 3, 30th Century: Contact, in either PDF or Kindle. You read and tell me how you would make it stronger by sending an email to Dr. Levin email@example.com