A New Harvard Start-Up Aims to Reverse Aging in Dogs, Then Humans
Earlier this year, Dr. Ian Pearson claimed that humans would obtain immortality by 2050, a statement that's been met with equal parts utopian optimism and scientific skepticism. In a strange twist of fate, however, dogs may join the ranks of eternal, ageless beings (alongside certain types of jellyfish, lobster, turtles, and flatworms) long before humans do.
At least, that's what the new start-up Rejuvenate Bio is planning on.
Based in Boston, Rejuvenate Bio is the brainchild of George Church, a professor of genetics at the Harvard Medical School.
The company is aiming to use cutting-edge gene therapy techniques to extend the lives of dogs and mice, with the initial goal of offering dog owners the ability to reverse aging in their pets (and tapping into the $72 billion-a-year pet industry).
The ultimate goal, however, will be applying that technology to human. According to Church, dogs are just a platform for the next big leap.
"Dogs are a market in and of themselves. It's not just a big organism close to humans. It's something people will pay for, and the FDA process is much faster. We'll do dog trials, and that'll be a product, and that'll pay for scaling up in human trials," says Church.
Even though dogs are just an intermediate goal, Rejuvenate Bio has already stirred up a lot of interest, both publicly and within government circles.
They've won a grant from the US' Special Operations Command to "enhance" military dogs, and begun conducting outreach to owners of Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which are uniquely vulnerable to a deadly heart condition called mitral valve disease.
Make no mistake, though—Rejuvenate Bio is envisioning a future where they are "able to control the biological clock and keep you whatever age you want."
Ideally, those who use Rejuvenate Bio's tech would end up having "the body and mind of a 22-year-old but the experience of a 130-year-old."
If everything goes according to plan, our ageless dogs will still be there when we make the leap to becoming immortals, too.