As life expectancy continues to increase, many people are looking for ways to stay healthy and active well. From supplements to gene therapies, approaches are being explored to extend human lifespan and improve quality of life in later years. But have you heard of this latest experiment?
Let’s dissect this together:
Retro Biosciences Announces Anti-Aging Experiments
In the middle of 2022, a startup known as Retro Biosciences announced they wanted to extend the average human lifespan by 10 years. Straight from a sci-fi movie, right?
$180 Million Gets Invested In The Experiments
The company, whose HQ was in San Francisco, quickly converted shipping containers into laboratory space for its recruited scientists. Retro’s ambitious mission aimed to slow or even reverse the aging processprocess. Despite being labeled a “mysterious startup” by the media, Retro had secured $180 million from anonymous investors.
Up to this point, Altman’s involvement has been kept confidential, as Joe Betts-Lacroix, CEO of Retro Biosciences, wanted the company to establish its own identity.
Betts-Lacroix has only mentioned that the company had received the multi-million funding to make sure it will be operating for some time, and to achieve its "first proofs of concept" for life extension.
Now we know, thanks to MIT Technology Review, that $180 million was invested from none other than Sam Altman. If you’re not familiar with the name, Altman is the CEO of OpenAI, and is quite the well-known figure in the Silicon Valley community for some time.
Get To Know Sam Altman
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, OpenAI is the latest craze with artificial intelligence. They recently launched the ChatGPT software, a language model developed by OpenAI. It functions on a deep learning algorithm trained on a massive amount of data to generate human-like responses - it's like you’re chatting with a robot.
Going back to Altman, all throughout his career he had focused his investments on specific areas of tech, such as AI, energy, and anti-aging biotech.
The “Young Blood” Experiments
Almost a decade ago, Altman developed an interest in “young blood” research. It does sound as gruesome as it is, because the experiments basically involved sewing young and old mice together to create a shared blood system. That results in the older mice seemed to be refreshed, as if they became younger.
Although the experiment was horrendous, it was “simple”. At the time, Altman instructed his team to investigate the progress of anti-aging scientists. He was intrigued by the unexpected results and felt that there might be an easier way to find the secret behind them.
What’s Happening Now?
There has been a lot of conversation happening the scientific field about what these types of experiments can lead, specifically ones of classism. As billionaires can afford to get plasma transfusions and other groundbreaking anti-aging in remedies, as opposed to the general public.
“We don’t really want … these old billionaires having to pay the plasma donors to come give them donations,” Betts-LaCroix spoke to an audience at “ARDD2022: Reprogramming, parabiosis, and autophagy”.
According to him, the company's goal is to discover more "believable" approaches, such as medications that simulate the outcomes of blood transfusion and can be utilized by a vast number of individuals.
Fret not people! You might be able to get your hands on this anti-aging tech sooner than you think.
As for the competition, Altman discusses the landscape with tech when it comes to these types of companies. He says that most biotech firms move too slowly and are poorly managed. The success to this therapy lies in longevity and a collective effort similar to what his team has done with OpenAI.
“The main thing for Retro Biosciences is to be a really good bio startup, because that is a rare thing,” says Altman in an online interview. “It’s combining great science and the resources of a big company with the spirit of a startup that gets things done. And that is the project for now.“
Who’s excited to see where this is going? Or does it feel like it’s a sci-fi horror movie that could turn real anytime?