This start-up believes it can slow the aging process – and Jeff Bezos agrees
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Want to hang around on earth a little longer? A Silicon Valley start-up thinks it can help you do that and more comfortably too.
Unity Biotechnology announced on Thursday that it raised $116 million from a few prominent venture capital firms, including Bezos Expeditions, the investment arm of Amazon.com’s chief executive (and owner of the Washington Post) Jeffrey P. Bezos, reports Bloomberg.
Live longer? Could this be for real?
Techcrunch’s Sarah Buhr does a good job explaining the technology. “Sometimes your body keeps aging cells around longer,” she writes. “These cells stop dividing after some form of stress, which is an anti-cancer mechanism that keeps damaged cells from dividing and growing out of control. But too much build-up of those types of cells leads to other problems as we age.”
We want those cells to keep dividing and keep fighting.
Enter Unity. The company’s technology jumpstarts those good cells that have stopped splitting as we get older into dividing again – which helps slow down the anti-aging effects of aching joints, degenerating eyes and diseased hearts.
“A win state for us would be if, 25 years from now, people coming of age grow up in a world where it’s considered relatively normal to have an extended average lifespan, and more profoundly, it’s an era where osteoarthritis and age-related eye diseases are only things you read about in books,” Unity’s President Ned David told Bloomberg.
The company plans to begin human trials in the next 12-18 months and focus on eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
“We don’t expect people to be living to 150 years, even in the wildest version of success,” David said in the Bloomberg report. “But we do expect people to live free of a variety of chronic diseases.”