News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Cholesterol and Life Extension


Read Richard’s current thoughts about transhumanism and related fringe topics here.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is good for you. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is not. Lipitor is a drug used by doctors to lower a patients LDL level, but this does not affect the level of HDL in the body. The first drug intended to increase HDL levels in the body [defunct link], torcetrapib, has had a successful trial in 19 human subjects, resulting in a 100 percent increase in some patients. Torcetrapib acts just like a genetic defect found in some people with exceptional life longevity. It specifically reduces a protein in the body that converts HDL to LDL.

Let us pause and appreciate this current moment. Scientists continue to explore the relationships between genes, proteins and the various life processes. With this new foundation of knowledge, they are fiddling with our biological mechanisms. Torcetrapib has joined the ranks of possible life extension drugs. Lifeline Nutraceuticals [defunct link] is preparing to market ProtandimT this fall. Technicians are developing better tools [defunct link] for the scientists to use in their research. There has literally never been such a flurry of activity in medical research in human history and the level of activity is likely increasing exponentially.

There are still years to go before we understand even the tip of the iceberg of human biology. While this knowledge base grows, new drugs will be tested and we will see an incremental increase in human life expectancy. Over time new, more efficient drugs will be created, relationships between these drugs used together will be charted, and technological enhancements to the biological body will be introduced. Interestingly enough, such profound change will not take centuries, but just a few decades. At this current moment you live in the most significant period in human history, no hyperbole intended.

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