Forget about governmental funds for a minute. According to you which companies have the chance to develop an indefinite life extension technology? Let us assume that even today there exists a company, or a predecessor of it which can eventually realize indefinite LE and customize it. Will it be a biotech company, like Genentech, Geron, ACT, or a big pharma, like Eli Lilly or an IT Giant from the other high tech sector, like Google? What are the institutional, financial, human conditions that must be suffice for that task?
What is your opinion? What is your bet? Why?
There is a dense comment debate on Bodyhack for more than a week concerning the electoral Missouri Stem Cell Hunter issue, celebs with ESC pro- or contra ads.
Here is an effective comment from today’s related post by the commenter named Orrin:
“I wonder what would happen if Bill Gates invested 2 billion dollars to embryonic stem cell research and just got people to shut up. I’m sure there would be those who accused him of murdering babies while others would say that is still isn’t enough money.”
Well, Bill Gates is now a full-time charity man, which makes him more attractive in the eyes of many people, comparing to the times when he was a chief technology officer or software architect at a company. It was in a William Gates III building, as I know from the the Google story, where the PageRank algorithm was born, for example. In the case of embryonic stem cell research, we do not really know the opinion of Mr. Gates, but I think this would be really a useful celeb opinion to know.
Interestingly the Gates Foundation has already put a little money, with 3 zero minus than 3 billion in embryonic research, but in China, not in the U.S.: Still, some billionaires have shied away from this science scrap. Bill Gates’ foundation, the largest in the world with $29 billion on hand, has put less than $2 million into research on human embryonic cells–at a lab at Peking University in China. Researchers there are implanting human cells in mice to look for better ways of making vaccines against aids and hepatitis C. A spokesperson for the Gates Foundation says the Peking researchers hit on the right idea; that the foundation hasn’t funded a single stem-cell test in the U.S., she adds, isn’t related to the anti-abortion fight.
So if Mr. Gates does agree with the purposes of embryonic stem cell research, than it is time to invest big bucks in it. Who knows, maybe this contribution could decide the debate in the U.S….
A study at the University of Queensland, Australia examined community attitudes to the extension of life headed by project Research Manager Dr Mair Underwood (left): Dr Underwood said the most important consideration was quality of life as participants did not want to spend their extra years in a nursing home. But study participants also mentioned other considerations such as:
• Would their loved ones be extending their lives too?
• What financial support would they have, and would they be extending their working lives rather than their retired lives?
• How would we decide who could extend their life? Would it just be those that could afford to do so? Link
Here are my answers concerning the most probable possibility of introducing life extension into real life at the first cost stage, when the costs of the treatment are very high:
quality of life: It is hard to imagine, that anyone wants to live long with a continuously ageing condition, losing gradually vital functions (of course we do not want it, this is not a Swift story), instead we want first to fix the ageing process, so that the biological age of the individual can remain constant, and his metabolism and energy household normal. Really different parameters.
loved ones: well, the decision to participate in a life extension treatment could be a family decision and it will depend on the family budget at the outset.
financial support, working life: Any serious concept of maximum life extension is about fixing your physiological age in a working and healthy state, so you can support yourself and you must when the costs are extremely high, because the state obviously cannot guarantee it.
who would decide, who could extend their life? It is my first question considering how to protect the right for pimm when the costs are extremely high. Well, in a liberal democracy the principle of equal dignity require us to make the treatment possible for those, who can afford it, because immortalized persons are rational moral persons too, and forbidding their participation in the treatment would degrade them as morally inferior ones. The continuous regeneration treatment called pimm will be permissible to those who can buy it from the same reason. If the treatment would not be permitted to them, this would violate their right to self-determination, and their right to self-determination cannot be legitimately interfered with.
We really have to modify our intuitions, we have to learn thought experimentation if we want to catch the idea of maximum life extension.
From Investor’s Business Daily: Big pharmaceutical firms and major biotechs are holding back as well, William Caldwell CEO of Advanced Cell Technology says. “While all of them have stem cell development labs someplace in the bowels of their organizations, they are not putting capital into the sector.” These companies are nervous about the political and ethical climate associated with the science, he says. The same holds true for venture capital firms. “VCs will take any risks — except political,” Caldwell said. Despite the political fallout, there’s plenty of research going on. Plenty of companies are trying to turn the stem cell therapy business into a success.
StemCells, which develops therapeutics to treat damaged or deteriorating organ systems, has followed a path away from embryonic stem cells in developing a treatment for Batten’s disease, a rare genetic disorder in children that is always fatal. Using nonembryonic human stem cells, the firm is about to launch a phase one trial on six children. Targeting Batten’s might seem odd, considering that as few as 600 Americans suffer from the condition. But StemCells Chief Executive Martin McGlynn says doing so is the best way to make use of available money and leverage the technology into other diseases. The challenge is convincing others, including Wall Street, of the long-term payoff. A handful of firms are moving into various clinical-trial phases. Aastrom Biosciences is running a phase two trial of its bone repair technology based on adult stem cells. Osiris Therapeutics has a phase three trial of its stem cell drug for a life-threatening immune condition that can hit cancer patients after a bone marrow transplant. ViaCell is monitoring subjects who received its stem cell treatment for post-chemo-radiation blood cancer patients. The stem cells in the phase one trial came from umbilical cord blood.