Defining this prize's Preferred Future State

For every prize, we define what we call a Preferred Future State.

This is not the end state of the competition, but rather a longer-term vision of the future the prize can usher in. Our prizes are designed to unlock innovation that, if properly nurtured, sets humanity on a path towards the Preferred Future State.

We welcome your feedback on what the Preferred Future State for XPRIZE Age Reversal should be!

It may include the following elements:

    The biological aging process is dramatically delayed through widely available interventions that extend the human life- and health spans. Age-related illness are rare, and physical and cognitive deterioration are greatly reduced.
  • Humanity has embraced the ability to remain youthful for a much longer time throughout physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy lives.

@jonathankolber, @ymedan, @GlobalFuturist, @markjayct, @Elizabeth, @Jerome, @Halal, this is a question for the futurists in our group! What is the long-term vision we should aspire to in an age-reversal XPRIZE?

Have human retire from their bodies in a healthy state at age 120 or beyond (by choice)

Is “retire from their bodies” a euphemism for euthanasia or transferring the brain from the body?

@temmmmm, @Terenceericson, @Jeffrey, @NewWorldOptimist, @wendyinfutures, can I ask for your feedback on this discussion as well? We’re thinking about the future we want to pull forward with an age reversal XPRIZE.

Imagine it’s, say, the year 2040 or 2050. It’s been several decades since XPRIZE Age Reversal concluded successfully with a treatment to reverse aging, kicking off more research, more successful treatments, and spawning a whole industry in longevity. What does that future look like, and how is it different from if we hadn’t had the XPRIZE?

I think a major thing that needs to be sorted out in defining this prize is whether it should focus on healthspan, lifespan, or both. In the geroscience field currently, most of the focus is on healthspan. The reason being that there is no purpose in extending late life if we can’t first improve the quality of late life. No one wants to live to be 200 if 100 of those years are spent on a sick bed.

This partially comes down to how you want to define biological aging. Is it a pathologic condition or not? It’s difficult to call it a disease state if 100% of people undergo it. So is what we are fighting really aging or just age-related diseases?

Welcome to the discussion, @jewhitson!

Absolutely - this is an ongoing discussion in our prize design teams. We don’t want to just add years at the end. Our priority is extending the healthspan, so people can live longer and healthier lives.

When it comes to the question of whether or not to define aging as a disease, one of the suggestion for our “Preferred Future State” is exactly that: aging being considered a disease. That would not only change the mindset, but change policy and unlock approval and funding for treatments.

Will need to ponder this a little longer, but I imagine that with the help of a successful XPrize campaign there will be a higher likelihood of successfully making these treatments more widely available. As with any technology, as it advances, the prices come down.

@NickOttens I don’t think it’s premature for XPRIZE to be bold and design in the near future a prize that truly lives up to its name - Age Reversal. In other words, not just striving for healthier states in old age, but moving toward reversal of biological age (which necessarily means increased health, healthspan, but now also indefinite extension of lifespan). If we eliminate age-related diseases, individuals will be healthier, but would still age and die somewhere between 80 and 120 (depending on their constitution), even if peacefully in their sleep from a heart or lungs so worn by time that they can’t take another beat or take another breath. I’ve previously brought up the advances in regenerative medicine (cell and tissue replacements) as one approach that in principle could reverse age reversal, but there may be others, and all would be worth considering.

Thank you for your feedback, @JeanHebert! I’m not sure we can do everything in one prize: extending healthspan and life expectancy?

Although living healthier AND longer lives can be part of our “Preferred Future State” - the future we want to (help) pull forward with this prize.

@jewhitson, @pscheck, @marky, @Jozef, @mashizaq, I’d like to ask your thoughts on this as well. Please join the discussion!

@NickOttens I guess the principle behind AGE REVERSAL is definitely to extend life expectancy and healthspan consequently. I therefore do not see the need to separate the three. I think both extending healthspan and life expectancy should be envisioned as the expected end results of the AGE REVERSAL process.
As quoted by @JeanHebert, whether we like it or not, no matter how much we try, the human body is made to fade away. Although we shall have extended our life expectancy, our different immune systems will play a major role on how far this process can go. Eventually, at one time our lives will be no more.

We need to modify human (personal) DNA in desired way regarding health span and life expectancy. There is technology CRISPR for cut and paste the DNA. What is not developed is clever way of understanding what should go where. Process of trial and error is taking too long.

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in our bodies, our brains, and our environment, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses, experience beaming and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.

@mashizaq @NickOttens Exactly, age reversal must imply increased healthspan and life expectancy (any approach that leads to age reversal with decreases in either of these would be, I think we would all agree, a failure).
@Jozef I agree, we don’t know yet how to re-engineer genomes to achieve increased life expectancy. An even bigger issue I think is that even when we do know, implementing DNA changes to all or most cells of the body without causing significant unwanted side effects (e.g. using viral vectors?) is hard to imagine (unless of course you are replacing existing cells with re-engineered cells). For a new generation, genome engineering might one day be doable. But for already existing individuals, even re-engineering their genomes will have little effect on the bulk of age related damage, which happens to be in extracellular proteins and carbohydrates in connective tissue (that turns over very little, and in some cases not at all, during the course of a lifetime.

@JeanHebert @NickOttens If extracellular proteins do not turn much during lifetime, good. Is possible to design artificial cell with purpose to help to replace all parts what do not turn over in lifetime? My opinions are based on theory, that everything in our body can be represented as information and it is some kind of difficult puzzle.

@Jozef, I see a few issues here. Not the least of which is that editing the human genome is illegal, and for good reason. It opens a ton of ethical questions that extend far beyond a discussion of just aging. I also agree with @JeanHebert that part of the problem is we don’t yet know how to engineer human biology better than nature does. The human body is extremely resilient and has so many systems that exist to prevent it from breaking down, yet it still does eventually. That’s not to say it can’t be done or isn’t worth pursuing, but I think we need to carefully consider why the systems in place that provide genomic and proteomic stability eventually fail and how we can bolster them.

Developing an artificial cell that can replaces low turnover proteins is pure science fiction at this point, although I do think you bring up a good point about how those low turnover proteins may be a good place to focus any therapeutics. Reversing the accumulation of post-translational modifications is another potential target for rejuvenation, and something that we already know drugs can do. Currently I believe that reversing the epigenetic landscape of cells holds the greatest potential in terms of dramatic lifespan extension.

@NickOttens Could the preferred future state be something like: “The average human will live to, and remain healthy, beyond 100 years of age”? That succinctly addresses both the lifespan and healthspan component and gives a clear goal.

Although this brings up another aspect of lifespan. Average lifespan is not just based on aging, it’s based on tons of other biological and societal factors too. There are a million things that could be done to greatly increase average lifespan without stepping foot into a lab. If cars were banned tomorrow, the number of deaths in early life would dramatically decrease and average lifespan would increase by several years. So it is worth considering, when talking about lifespan, if you are talking about average lifespan or maximum theoretical lifespan. But if it’s the latter and you don’t address the first, are you really accomplishing much?

@jewhitson, you’re exactly right. Even if we extend health- and lifespans, average life expectancy might not decline dramatically as long as people keep smoking, keep unhealthy food, keep driving cars, etc. So making reference to life expectancy may be unwise.

" the year 2040 or 2050. XPRIZE Age Reversal concluded successfully with a treatment to reverse aging, kicking off more research, more successful treatments, and spawning a whole industry in longevity"…
we can finally live in the same way as before, but without the overnight fear of losing everything because of cancer or neurodegeneration . In other words, we have added continuity to the human experience. Today our lives are made of ruptures (we are healthy, we get hurt, we get well, we get sick, we get better, we get older, etc…), but tomorrow these same lives could gain in continuity, to enjoy a perennial, acquired good health,

Finally, there is a decorrelation between chronological ageing (which is desirable, since one becomes wiser and more experienced) and biological ageing (undesirable, since one loses one’s physical and mental integrity).
In other words, aging chronologically is “having time to do”, aging biologically is “no longer having the ability to do”. And it is a paradox, a limit, that we would have overcome