Humans could live for thousands of years as ‘genetic reset’ trials begin in 2023

Human studies on a "genetic reset" that could allow us to live for thousands of years will begin in less than two years, a Harvard genetics expert has said.

Professor David Sinclair said tests on mice have proved ageing can be reversed in the brain and other organs.

He told the Lex Fridman podcast: "What we found is that there are embryonic genes that we can put into the adult animal to reset the age of tissues and it only takes four to eight weeks to work well.

"You can take a blind mouse that has lost its vision due to ageing, neurons aren't working towards the brain, reset those neurons back to a younger age and now the mice can see again.

"What wasn't known was, can you partially take age back without creating a tumour or generating a stem cell in the eye, which would be a disaster, and the answer is yes."

The 52-year-old said his study, published last December, had proved there was a system of bringing cells back to a younger state without going too far.

Explaining the embryonic genes were delivered with viruses, Prof Sinclair told the podcast: "We are now using that to reset the age of the brain of those mice that we aged prematurely and they are getting their ability to learn back.

"I'm so optimistic that we are going into human studies in less than two years from now."

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In a discussion over how modern medicine can extend the human lifespan, the expert said babies born today should aim to reach 100.

He added: "How long can you ultimately live? Well there's no maximum limit to a human life span.

"Anyone who says you max out at x I think is full of it. There's nothing that I have seen that says biological organisms have to die.

"There are trees that live for thousands of years and their biochemistry is pretty close to ours."

Going back to his research, he said: "What we are learning is if you reverse the age of nerve cells it looks like they get their memories back.

"Ultimately information will be lost, even genetic information degrades slowly through mutations, so immortality is not achievable through that means, though I think we could potentially reset the body hundreds of times and live for thousands of years."

It comes as plans to allow an NHS system to extract patient data from doctors’ surgeries in England were pushed back by two months amid worries over privacy.

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Prof Sinclair said: "We are living through what's going to be seen as one of the biggest revolutions in human health, through the gathering of data on human bodies.

"Ultimately we are going to, even if you don't want, have to be monitored. There's going to be a court case in two or three years, someone's going to say, 'how come my father died of a heart attack, you have these biosensors right there' and lawsuit right there."

The podcast host and AI expert, Dr Lex Fridman agreed: "It's almost negligent to not collect the data."

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