This interview potpourri covers the opinions of well-known gerontologists about the possibility of late-onset interventions to prolong life. The scientists are the authors of a paper in the Science Translational Medicine, which advocates that the funding for research is increased and interventions in aging processes are developed.
I’d like to draw your attention to Jan Vijg’s words: “People are a little afraid to confess that they want to cure aging. I think it would be a good thing to make it very clear that that is exactly what we want to do, we want to try to get rid of aging.” Dr. Vijg discerned one of the major problems in biogerontology – the fear and pretence of the scientists, who want the grant money, but don’t want to sound “inappropriate.” I have to say this approach of not saying what you have in mind is lethal. For everybody.
Why is so much money being spent on cancer research? Because cancer researchers cry out loud that cancer is a very dangerous disease that needs to be cured. They clearly state their goal. Biogerontologists, on the other hand, would never say their goal is to cure aging. This is why they don’t get the money. This is why the whole field rather survives, not lives.
I believe this attitude has to change. Researchers have to state their noble goal – to defeat aging. They should be neither afraid, nor embarrased to say this explicitly. This is the only right way to get public attention and needed grant money for studying the fundamental mechnisms of our worst disease – aging.