ONWARD

Don’t think these are the gold rush days of anti-aging, rather, the homesteading days.

The opportunity is everywhere. Seize it!

It’s not just for the lucky, but for everyone willing to work hard.

The pathways to radical life extension are availing themselves to us as never before, revealing new ways, new modes, new tools in our eternal quest to fight death.

New drugs, new treatments, research into the human biome, gene editing of the foods we eat, methods to keep the brain and nervous system healthy and functioning, better ways to kill cancers, experimental efforts to halt, maybe reverse, cell damage.

And what are the possible cumulative benefits of all of these?

A healthy, happy, prosperous extra 2 years, 5 years, 25 years? And then? 50? 100?

Two teams of scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that intestinal bacteria play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS), an incurable disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin coating on neurons, causing tremors, fatigue, cognitive problems, and more.

Gut germs that were unusually abundant in people with MS changed white blood cells in a way that made them more likely to attack the body’s own cells, including neurons, one study reported on Monday; the other experiment found that gut germs from people with MS made mice more likely to develop the disease than did gut germs from their identical but healthy twins.

What might targeted enhancements to an individual’s gut biome achieve?

And what of new cancer treatments — ones that can be produced at little cost?

A breakthrough therapy that uses genetically altered immune cells to treat an often-fatal type of childhood blood cancer passed an important milestone in August when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it. The highly personalized treatment, called CAR-T therapy, uses a patient’s own immune cells and takes about three weeks to manufacture—two factors that lend to its $475,000 price tag.

There will be setbacks. Initial prices will be beyond the reach of nearly all. But we are pushing forward. Even better, we are pushing forward in a way that benefits all and each.

Personalized CAR-T therapies, like the one marketed by Novartis that was approved by the FDA, are made using a patient’s own T cells, a type of immune cell. The patient’s T cells are removed and genetically altered to contain a new gene that codes for a protein—known as a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR. This protein tells a patient’s T cells to seek out and kill cancer cells that have a specific marker on their surface.

Some families possess a very high predisposition to Alzheimers. Studying these families will almost certainly help improve lives and lengthen them, and the knowledge gained will seep into others, improving still more lives.

Researchers have since determined that there exists in the extended Chastain family an astonishing rate of Alzheimer’s: The disease strikes 44 percent of family members with an affected parent. No other large family has been found with such a high likelihood of inheriting the typical, late-onset type of Alzheimer’s. The rate suggests some family members carry a previously unknown gene so powerful that it can cause disease in someone who receives a copy from just one parent.

Pray for them.

What other secrets are hidden within our selves? What else is ready to be uncovered, unlocked, revealed — and which will lead to radically longer life?

A huge genetic study that sought to pinpoint how the human genome is evolving suggests that natural selection is getting rid of harmful genetic mutations that shorten people’s lives.

Fascinating. Now let’s develop the means to rapidly speed up this natural selection process.

(Evolutionary biologist Hakhamanesh) Mostafavi and his colleagues tested more than 8 million common mutations, and found two that seemed to become less prevalent with age. A variant of the APOE gene, which is strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease, was rarely found in women over 70. And a mutation in the CHRNA3 gene associated with heavy smoking in men petered out in the population starting in middle age. People without these mutations have a survival edge and are more likely to live longer, the researchers suggest.

A survival edge. More likely to live longer.

Soon, we will find more such genes. Enhance them. Replicate them. Make them available.

Then do still more.

Scientists have converted skin cells from healthy adults directly into motor neurons without going through a stem cell state. The technique makes it possible to study motor neurons of the human central nervous system in the lab. Unlike commonly studied mouse motor neurons, human motor neurons growing in the lab would be a new tool since researchers can’t take samples of these neurons from living people but can easily take skin samples.

In Genesis, we read that “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

No human alive before us could believe such a thing possible. Or, at least not without God’s intervention. They read the Bible, marveled at the stories, and tried desperately to believe.

And now it’s real.

Now we accept that sperm can be preserved, eggs preserved, that even womb replacement are all reality. These are not divine or fantastical, but normal. Humans — with or without a godly presence, that is for you to decide — continue to make the magical the merely technical.

And we are accelerating this!

What next will we achieve?

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

Onward!

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