Updated on April 29, 2013 at 6:40 p.m.
A Cal State Fullerton philosophy professor presented his research surrounding the slowing or halting of human aging during a discussion titled “The Ethics of Life Extension” at McCarthy Hall on Tuesday.
John Davis, Ph.D., discussed how with proper research and future medicine, aging can be stopped, ultimately allowing a person to remain physiologically youthful for a much longer time.
“It is entirely possible and more likely than not, that in some time in your lifetime and mine, you will see drug cocktails (life extension medicine) that will aid in aging,” said Davis.
Davis explained that in order for life extension to be successful for people, the method will include manipulating the process of aging at a molecular and cellular level.
“Weak life extension is life extension achieved by eliminating causes of death,” Davis said. “Radical life extension is manipulating and slowing the rate of aging enough that your odds of dying from age related causes, are less than your odds of dying from non-age related causes.”
Davis said that for his current life extension research to be successful and move forward, more bioethics journals would be necessary to help spread his research to others.
“It is rare to find a new set of philosophical problems, most of the ones we have have been gone over countless times by countless people,” Davis said. “It’s always nice when you can find problems people have not thought about yet.”
Nilay Patel, Ph.D., a genetics and molecular biology professor at CSUF, hosted the presentation and explained that although Davis’ topic was new to attendees, Patel himself has been looking into life extension, but through a stem cell biology scope.
“There is the idea that as we age, we lose our adult stem cells and those adult stem cells were there to repair our body and reduce the number of cell divisions to hold onto your stem cells and not extinguish the full life,” said Patel.
Patel said that the application of stem cells are going to be available to people that can pay $10,000 to $15,000 for treatment and will be able to live longer because they can afford it.
Danielle Zacherl, Ph.D., a biology professor at CSUF, explained what the presentation meant to her.
“I just thought it was fascinating,” said Zacherl. “I have never really thought about those issues before, and it makes me think that as biologists, we should all be a little better trained in ethics.”