Jeff Bezos has invested in a groundbreaking new technology that, if successful, could help humans live up to 50 years longer.
The Amazon founder has joined forces with Altos Labs, a Silicon Valley start-up on a lofty mission to reverse the natural process of aging.
Created by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner earlier this year, the company plans to use biological reprogramming technology to rejuvenate lab cells, with the hope of ultimately reviving the bodies of whole animals—including humans. If the method works, we could see our life spans increase by nearly half a century.
Before you throw out all your best retinol creams and serums though, it’s worth keeping in mind that this venture is still in its beginning stages. Altos’ technology has only been tested on mice so far, and while these experiments successfully reverted their cells to an embryonic state, they also led to the development of tumors. It could therefore be years—even decades—before human trials can go ahead.
If Altos can work out how to implement this technology safely on people, Bezos— whose fortune currently stands at an estimated $201 billion—could have his foot in the door of yet another goldmine.
Altos Labs has secured a team of top scientists to lead the project, including Japanese stem cell researcher Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who won a Nobel Prize in 2012 for the discovery of reprogramming, and Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a Spanish biologist who restored vision in blind mice by rejuvenating old cells. With such a stellar group of experts on board, Altos has high hopes for its future.
"Although there are many hurdles to overcome, there is huge potential," Dr. Yamanaka said in an email to MIT Tech Review in an email.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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