Could we make ageing a thing of the past?

Recent scientific advances raise the prospect of living longer – but ‘healthspan’ is just as important as lifespan

Is there any way to avoid the decay and frailty that come with age? Jeff Bezos thinks so. A biotech company that the founder of Amazon has helped fund, Altos Labs, is said to have $3bn at its disposal to research ways of holding back the clock. Closer to home, scientists at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge recently announced they had altered a 53-year-old woman’s skin cells so they behaved as though they were 30 years younger.

Promising as this may seem, it’s a long road from the lab to the clinic. But the difficulty of translating scientific breakthroughs into treatment hasn’t stopped an explosion in research. To understand why the once fantastical idea of preventing or reversing ageing is even considered a possibility these days, we need to appreciate exactly what happens as we get older.

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