New Tech For Gene Therapy Could Advance Longevity (

This approach (gene therapy) seems likely to be a powerful approach in the longer term for longevity. I suspect that cost will be a large issue, and an important one in terms of access for the vast majority of people in the world, so there is a large risk of it radically increasing inequality in the world…

As a therapeutic approach, however, gene therapy suffers somewhat from the undue weight of exuberant expectations. For years people have speculated about applications going beyond restoration of lost body function and into biological enhancement, such as longevity. Some now categorize gene therapy as belonging to the realm of transhumanism—the use of medical and surgical interventions to enhance the body, or give it extra capabilities, as opposed to treating things that go wrong.

All this still seems like science fiction, and indeed, the current process that moves ideas through basic research, safety testing, and clinical trials is sometimes torturously long. Even for therapies devised to work directly against top causes of death, like coronary artery disease and cancer, taking a drug from the laboratory through clinical trials and FDA approval can take approximately ten years on average.

But this reality has not stopped one particular biotech CEO from being a human test subject in gene therapy research aimed at extending lifespan, and especially healthspan, the number of healthy years lived. A recipient of four therapies in vivo, administered over the course of two trips outside the United States, one in 2015, another in 2020, Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, is the only known human to have received such therapy with longevity as the clinical goal.

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