S5-EP7: Andrew Steele on Research at the Cellular Level That Could Slow Aging
Debbie talks to ebullient author and scientist Andrew Steele about the biological processes of aging and how the newest research could slow aging in humans.
Today Debbie tackles the topic of aging (better? longer??) with Andrew Steele, an ebullient British scientist, writer and author of Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old.
After earning a PhD in physics from Oxford, Andrew decided that aging – not cancer or other diseases – was the single most important scientific challenge of our time. Why? Because of the suffering that goes along with old age.
So he switched fields to biogerontology, the study of the processes of aging at the cellular level.
Andrew, 37, doesn’t advocate for immortality. As he puts it: “It’s not about extending lifespan, but rather healthspan.” His interest, he maintains, is in helping humans stay healthier longer.
Debbie asks him what the most important biological aging processes are. He responds with a clear explanation of cell biology as it relates to aging: from senescent cells and cellular exhaustion to your epigenetic age, and more.
And he explains that some of these genes and processes can be manipulated to slow or possibly reverse aging – at least, so far, in worms and mice.
Andrew is exuberant and makes everything understandable.
They talk about:
- The 10 hallmarks of the aging process
- Specifically, how research on worms and mice translates to humans
- Why 65 – 70 could be the ideal age to take an anti-aging pill (no, it doesn’t exist yet)
They also discuss:
- Dietary restriction (a topic of aging research since the 1950s)
- Why the mega-wealthy are so interested in biohacking to improve health and extend life
- Moral and ethical implications of humans living much longer
This is an important conversation and we hope you will find it as thought provoking as we did.
Mentioned in this episode or useful:
Andrew’s book and bonus chapter
- Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old by Andrew Steele (Doubleday, 2021)
- Bonus chapter: The ethics of ageing biology by Andrew Steele
- Video from bonus chapter: Would curing aging destroy the planet?
Articles and references
- Looking Forward to Your 170th Birthday by Annie Murphy Paul (New York Times Book Review, April 2, 2021)
- Why Anti-Aging Science is so Alluring by Daniela J. Lamas (New York Times, Jan. 4, 2023)
- The Hallmarks of Aging by Carlos López-Otín, Maria A Blasco, Linda Partridge, Manuel Serrano, Guido Kroemer (Pubmed, June 6, 2013)
- Viral Tweet about Blueprint & Bryan Johnson
- CAR T Cells: Engineering Immune Cells to Treat Cancer (National Cancer Institute)
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Thanks to our media partners
Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.
Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.
Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."