According to a top geneticist the secret elixir is in sight.

A Harvard geneticist has predicted that life-prolonging drugs are on the near horizon, unlocking the secret to remaining biologically young into extended old age.

Speaking to an audience at the AMP Amplify symposium on Wednesday, researcher and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, David Sinclair, said we are close to solving the greatest problem of our time and a discovery bigger than antibiotics; the potential for the elixir of youth. 

Sinclair’s research suggests that drugs and compounds such as Rapamycin, Metformin, Resveratrol (found in red wine) and NMN have the ability to mimic the survival state, boosting the body’s ability to read its genome. They do this by allowing the body’s map-decoder, a class of proteins called sirtuins, to switch on and do their jobs effectively.

Although research is still in the trial stage and requires US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in humans, Sinclair said it offers hope that many of us will be able to live into old age without the debilitating age-related ailments that impair our quality of life as a species such as dementia, arthritis and heart disease.

He went onto predict that the first person to live to 150 years old has already been born. 

Other factors which can add to longevity and health, he said, include calorific-restricted diets as the body has a heightened ability to map and read its genome when it is in survival mode, such as famine or stress. Few people however have the discipline to live on a restricted diet in the long term due to prolonged hunger and or lack of will power. 

In terms of investible ideas, Sinclair suggested that companies that are well advanced in linking genetic testing and medicine will perform very well as demand grows from the growing ageing population. 

View the full session here.