It has officially been one year since I volunteered to take the first gene therapy to treat biological aging. It has been an amazing year! It began with a great deal of excitement in the weeks leading up to taking the treatment. The excitement of treatment day was followed by months of anticipation, while unfortunately we have not yet succeeded in undoing all aspects of aging just yet, we have gathered tantalizing human data for the first time in history. Even so, the year has been filled with energizing information gleaned from every additional molecular biomarker test that we have done. In this post, I will try to summarize my feelings on several topics as they have evolved throughout the year.
First in Human Use
Being the first person to use any new medical treatment is a complicated endeavor. It is infinitely more complicated when we don’t know the possible outcomes, the perfect dosage, the ideal regimen, or the optimal delivery method. With all of these uncertainties, one is constantly aware that all of our excitement and hopes could be squelched in moments. For the same reasons, every small success seems unbelievable, despite being the results we wanted.
Better Bodies through Cell Technology
Here at BioViva, we are embarking on more than just health; we are taking strides to make human bodies that are stronger, faster and healthier than ever before. As cell technologies evolve, we will blur the lines between human enhancement and preventive medicine. This is a process that science has already begun with antibiotics and immunizations. These miracle treatments are ubiquitous today but would seem like pure magic to past civilizations. With these treatments, humans today have a vastly different quality and quantity of life compared to that 200 years ago. And the pace of change is gaining speed. Those humans alive 200 years from now will have exquisite control over their health and wellbeing through advanced cell technologies that can only be imagined by people living today. The risk takers - those who can already envision surpassing the limits of their bodies and those who are unwilling to accept the disability of old age without a fight - will be the ones pioneering a bold future and reinventing our concept of health.
Safety vs. Exponential Technology
A perfectly safe technology has never been created. A technology that causes absolutely no harm while also eradicating diseases has never been developed. Even with the high standards of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a multitude of drugs have been pulled off the market after passing the gold standard of US regulations. In the US alone over 100,000 people die every year from adverse drug reactions caused by prescription drugs. Deaths from adverse drug reactions are in fact the 4th leading cause of death in the US, ahead of death from pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents, and automobile deaths. Most available drugs have significant off target effects and a myriad of side effects.
Other than antibiotics and immunizations, there have been very few therapeutics that have had recognizable net benefits for human lifespan. Some of the most widely prescribed drugs have a low efficacy and a high risk of causing another disease. Let's take statins as an example. Statins do not improve lifespan, and they only prevent stroke in 1 person out of every 154 treated. The side effects of statins may far outweigh their benefits. One in every one hundred people taking statins will develop diabetes, and, more worryingly, one in every ten people will have severe muscle damage. Modern medicine is killing us, and the transitional health care system would rather let you die than accelerate the development of curative cell technologies, such as gene therapy, gene editing, monoclonal antibodies, RNA-based therapeutics and stem cells. BioViva is striving for safe-as-possible exponential technology today.
Religion and Biotechnology
I am often bombarded with questions by people asking me if religious groups have been attacking BioViva. No! As a matter of fact, I get much praise from these groups. They often feel that this is a creator’s work, the prophet's message, part of a divine intervention, the knowledge of multiple lives culminating into new science Religious people are the original immortalists. I regularly communicate with highly religious people about our work at BioViva and, for the most part, they offer their sincere blessings and wishes of godspeed. It is time to stop assuming that religious people are by default against progress in biotechnology.
Do you have the right to treat your body as you wish? This is a very important area of interest for me. Why should anyone block me from doing with my body what I wish to do with it? Aesthetics, tattoos, clothing choices or gene therapy - it is my body, my choice. It confounds me when I am asked if my experiment was legal. In the US, terminally ill patients have the right to try experimental drugs in many states but only if they have the capacity and strength to do the research and find a drug company who will let them use a drug that may or may not work. Often companies will refuse to give access. Many patients have died while trying, and their work has helped create better networks for others to have access to experimental therapeutics. However, the process is still needlessly convoluted. We need to urgently change this state of affairs and improve the availability and accessibility of new treatments for all. Waiting until you are terminally ill may be too late.
Let’s talk about ethics. Today’s bioethics are convoluted. We often let people die instead of accessing therapeutics. What are ethics after all? Ethics are rules of behavior that reflect today’s moral principles. Bioethics are steeped in hesitation. Today’s bioethics have become overly cautious by only considering the potential harm that could be caused by an experimental treatment and not taking into account the number of people dying while waiting for that new treatment. To have rational bioethical principles, we need to understand that the default state of humans is grow but then decay until generally dying a slow painful death. If we fail, new anti-aging therapeutics may hasten death at the end of life, but, if we succeed, we can finally cure the root cause of most disease --- aging - something that affects us all and is causing colossal economic and social burden worldwide.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)
EBM and biomedical science has taken a huge hit with unreproducible scientific research and hidden studies that did not pan out as hoped. More than half of all clinical trials never report their results, and the results that are published are overwhelmingly biased towards being positive. Unfortunately, we have become good at meeting an endpoint by choosing to research for a specific provable goal and throwing out data that didn't line up. Careers are ruined and risk aversion goes up. We need to make data open source to expedite therapeutics. We need real evidence created by human use and not just evidence from rodent trials. We have cured cancer in mice hundreds of times but not so in humans.
We cannot fear the future. It is coming. Your diagnosis is inevitable and incurable without new drugs and techniques.
BioViva is more than an idea. It is a movement and, moreover, a lifestyle. The people who invest in BioViva are concerned about their existence - their biggest asset. They are also concerned about the future the world offers for their children and families. They want to live their legacy instead of leaving it. They want to see the eradication of disease, hunger and energy problems. They want to experience all that life has to offer. They are people who people who remain endlessly curious about the universe around them. We must collectively stand together to create a better future, one in which no-one is discarded and left to suffer. We welcome all who stand with us in this goal.