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The Manhattan Beach Project to End Aging by 2029

Aging hand holding a cell

Just as the Manhattan Project was conceived in 1942 to beat the Germans to the atomic bomb during World War II, the “Manhattan Beach Project” was founded as an “all-out assault on the world’s biggest killer – aging,” according to project organizer David A. Kekich.

An end to aging may be just as explosive as the atomic blast that occurred at Alamogordo, New Mexico during the predawn hours of July 16, 1945. It’s serious enough that members of the Obama Administration consider it to be one of the major global destabilizing forces of the next 25 years. It will require the political mastery of a scientific and societal transition built around the Nano-Info-Bio-Cogno (NBIC) roadmap.

After nine years of research and collaboration, a group of entrepreneurs and scientists – many known to h+ readers –- are disclosing their plan “to start saving up to 100,000 lives lost to aging every day, by 2029.” A Longevity Summit in November 2009 — organized by Kekich — brought together a number of researchers on human aging and longevity for a discussion on the state-of-the-art research, the implications of their discoveries, and round table, cross-disciplinary discussions that may lead to new and accelerated results. Here’s a video of Kekich explaining the project:

The goal of the summit was “to devise scientific and business strategies with the goal of demonstrating the capability to reverse aging in an older human by 2029.” Many at the conference believe that humans are approaching something Aubrey De Grey calls “longevity escape velocity” (see the h+ article “Aubrey de Grey on ‘The Singularity’ and ‘The Methuselarity’” in Resources). This is the point at which the yearly advances in procedures for extending human life expectancy result in adding one year to the human lifespan –- potentially making death-by-aging a choice rather than a date with destiny.

Entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil opened the conference with a virtual presentation on exponential technology trends that are bringing the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity ever closer. “We are very close to the tipping point in human longevity,” explained Kurzweil. “We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.”

Stephen Spindler, UC Riverside biochemist. Photo: crsociety.orgUniversity of California, Riverside biochemist Stephen Spindler reported on his research seeking caloric restriction mimetics. (See the h+ article “You Are What You Don’t Eat” in Resources.) Research shows that restricting mice and rats to about two-thirds of their regular diet extends their healthy lifespans. For example, calorie-restricted mice live up to 50 percent longer and experience less heart disease and cancer than those who eat as much as they want. Spindler is testing a variety of compounds including pharmaceuticals to see if they mimic the effects of caloric restriction in mice.

Michael Rose, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, talked about his work breeding long-lived fruit flies. Rose is testing the hypothesis that natural selection contributes to aging. Using artificial selection for longevity, Rose has produced fruit flies that live four times longer than normal, the human equivalent of being healthy at age 300. These “Methuselah flies” are more fecund and better at handling environmental stresses than non-selected flies.

William Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences, talked about his company’s project to identify compounds that lengthen telomeres –- repeated sequences of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes to keep them from unraveling and to keep them from binding to other chromosomes. According to Andrews, when an adult’s telomeres get down to about 5,000 repeats they die of old age. By looking at telomere length in a blood sample, he claims to be able to predict how much time until you die a natural death. “I can tell how old you are and how long you have before you die of old age,” claims Andrews.

A group of entrepreneurs and scientists – many known to h+ readers –- are disclosing their plan “to start saving up to 100,000 lives lost to aging every day, by 2029."

Stephen Coles heads the Supercentenarian Research Foundation (SRF) and wants to answer the question why some people live to be over 100 years old. Supercentenarians are people who are over 110 years old. In the world there are 76 currently validated supercentenarians, 72 are female and 4 are male. His research shows that most died of senile cardiac amyloidosis, the accumulation of amyloid fibers in their heart muscles.

John Furber, founder of Legendary Pharmaceuticals, discussed the problem of accumulating cross-linked proteins and sugars inside and outside of cells – these are the fibers that killed Coles’ supercentenarians. The digestive organelles inside cells called lysosomes slowly become clogged with advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).

Robert Freitas. Photo: acceleratingfuture.comNanotechnology pioneer Robert Freitas – recipient of the prestigious 2009 Feynman Prize for Theory, in recognition of his pioneering work in molecular mechanosynthesis –- gave a talk with Ralph Merkle on how medical non-biological nanotechnology will likely work in the next 20 years. “The difference between good and bad health is how your atoms are arranged,” said Merkle. The goal of medical nanotechnology is to mobilize nanobots to patrol the body and its cells repairing damage as it occurs.

The business strategy session included new media entrepreneur and Disney executive Oliver Luckett, 2008 Libertarian Party VP candidate Wayne Allyn Root, computer and biotech entrepreneur Richard Offerdahl, marketing expert John Lustyan, social media marketer Michael Terpin, Lifestar Institute COO Kevin Perrott, CEO of TA Sciences Noel Patton, filmmaker Michael Potter, marketer Joe Sugarman, computer entrepreneur Ken Weiss, and Bill Faloon, co-founder of the Life Extension Foundation.

Can you stay healthy enough to make it to 2029? If you can, you may be able to live indefinitely if you choose – although the political and societal challenges you’ll face will likely be more daunting than the ones that followed the dawning of the Atomic Era at Alamogordo in 1945. Follow the progress of The Manhattan Beach Project at www.manhattanbeachproject.com

36 Comments

  1. FACT:

    Capitalism will bring the singularity and there’s nothing you socialists can do about it

    Freedom will win in the future.

  2. Every day, 100,000 people die from old age.

    Every day, 1.02 billion people don’t have enough to eat. It’s just my opinion, but it seems like it might be prudent to solve *that* problem first.

    • Don’t worry, they can’t afford life extensions anyway. They would die off soon enough.

  3. This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard of. Over population is the biggest problem on the planet as it is. How is keeping people alive longer gonna help anything?

    • Amazingly enough, when you factor out immigration, industrialized countries are actually seeing population declines rather than increases. However, even though our current resources and technologies could support 6 billion more people (according to world renowned economist Julian Simon), these concerns should still be addressed.

      Life extensionists are generally responsible, problem-solving people who share these concerns. And the longer we keep them alive, the more brainpower we have to see these problems through, by developing better technologies for cheaper and more plentiful food and water, pure air, clean abundant energy and affordable housing.

      Just as technology extends lives, it makes life more livable for larger populations. Since the Industrial Revolution, alarmists screamed doom and gloom about overcrowding and limited resources (backed by their “statistics”). However, the opposite has happened. The population increased by 740% since then, and standards of living have soared. It’s not so much a question of resources as it is one of education, individual productivity and distribution—social problems, not life-extension problems. As long as people produce more than they consume, it’s impossible to run out of resources.

      Telling people they should die to make room for others is not a good solution to any problem.

    • If you want to die, go ahead.

      I do not, however, and will not allow someone to tell me when it is my time to die.

  4. wait, we can’t handle the amount of people on the planet yet, why are we trying to stop aging? that’s just wasteful, stupid, and mainly just selfish. it’s the way our bodies work, there are real problems to solve.

    • Wow I didn’t know aging was an imaginary problem.

      Also, explain to me how it’s selfish to want to cure aging when EVERY SINGLE LIVING BEING ON THE PLANET suffers from it?

  5. If advances in robotics and software algorithms eliminate the majority of jobs instead of eliminating the idea of work altogether

    If artificial scarcity is forced upon the public through DRM locked nanofactories instead of open source MNT that can make anything for pennies… eliminating the need for money and credit

    If human genetic enhancement and radical life extension are only available to the wealthy in said artificial scarcity model economy

    If the nation state model begins to move to a centalized bureaucracy (EU, NAU, ASEAN) staffed by unelected officials controlled by special interests (read: fractional reserve bankers), instead of more transparent governments that are directly accountable to their constituents

    The above situations, if they play out, will cause tremendous social, poltical and economic strain the likes of which we’ve never seen. No amount of media spin will be able to cloud the argument. These inequalities can’t be ignored, denied or made light of. You’re either a slave or you’re not. Will we see an empowered humanity freed from disease and wage slavery or will we have a neo-feudalist global plantation dominated by a transhuman elite? Conflict will explode using lethal nanotech weapons. Hugo De Garis may not have to worry about an Artilect War. Humanity may have gigadeath war not over species dominance, but over issues concerning control and dominance over the population.

    • yep. quite true.

      However, I don’t foresee that happening for one very simple reason. The internet.

      All of those things require control of information. The internet allows the universal dissemination of information.

      DRM has been being tried for how many years now? It’s still useless. Anyone who is seriously interested can find a way around DRM.

      The feudal system ended when the printing press arrived. Information was suddenly available and accessible to the masses. The Social order was over turned when the knowledge previously controlled by the Church was suddenly uncontrolled. Knowledge previously hard to obtain in very rare tomes owned by only a few suddenly was being passed around by many. The Reformation occurred because the common man could now access the knowledge once only the priests could read.

      All forms of Tyranny depend on suppression of knowledge. Our history has proved this time and again. Suppression doesn’t work forever though. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Our modern “war on drugs” certainly hasn’t, and as climategate is proving, all it takes is one leak on the internet to open a huge can of worms.

      A DRM controlled nanofactory might be tried. But as sure as a black market for drugs appeared as soon as they were made illegal, and a million DRM free mp3 sites sprung up following the attempts to ban music sharing, a black market for non-DRM nanofactories will occur.

      And as Drexler pointed out, all it takes is one single self-replicating nanofactory to create a world filled with them.

      We’ve been slaves to the Corporatacracy. But we’re moving out of that phase now. They are trying like hell to restore their power through lobbying to kill reform in health and finance and eliminate net neutrality, but all they are truly doing is spending millions on efforts that will fail. They may buy a few more years of life, but that is all.

      The only ones who will survive are those who adapt to the new realities. Google seems like it might do well, but those who continue to cling to the past won’t.

      We’re at the start of the elbow curve for the internet. It’s been growing in power slowly, but the next decade it is going to skyrocket in influence, especially once VR becomes commonplace.

      In 20 years… there may not be a tyrant left standing.

      • Good response to that comment, my boy. Made me feel warm and fuzzy.

      • Awesome!

      • Google is becoming cozy with the NSA.. no one is safe as long as the Patriot Act is in effect. We need pervasive cryptography.. the freenet project has come a long way.. need more like it.

  6. Not so fast. With businessmen and, gag!, a libertarian involved, it means that any treatments that come available will ONLY be available to the rich and “worthy”. If you are not rich or not adjudged to be otherwise “worthy” by some libertarian or businessman, then you are SOL.

    In another vein, the rules should be simple assuming indefinite lifespan is achieved: if you elect to have your life extended, then you have to give up your fertility. No reproduction/children allowed so long as you are receiving treatments. If you decide at some point that you just gotta make a baby, then you are required to go off longevity therapies and accept normal aging from that point on. Otherwise, population would literally explode in just a couple generations beyond any theoretical or desirable carrying capacity of the earth.

    Sorry, but we are not going to give up open land, wildlife, forests, parks, etc, so that people can literally inhabit every available square foot of space. Of course, that is impossible in the first place because LONG before we reached that population and the environmental destruction that must come with it, we as a species (along with all the others we stupidly took out on our way) would be toast.

    • “…gag!, a libertarian…” it’s funny that freedom makes you gag.

      • Libertarians generally don’t care about “freedom” as much as they suffer from class anxiety. Their support for Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile shows where their real priorities lie.

    • “If you are not rich or not adjudged to be otherwise “worthy” by some libertarian or businessman, then you are SOL.”

      If you’re not rich or “worthy”, you go to the black market, obtain the life extension drugs/treatments for much lower price and without any judging and then give a middle finger to the businessmen who will cry and rage, trying to criminalize people’s attempts to save their lives.

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