Why Jeff Bezos is backing this Silicon Valley scientist who is working on a cure for aging
- The U.S. population is aging. By 2035, older people will outnumber those under 18 for the first time in American history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Unity Biotechnology is a company designing drugs and treatments that can make a person functional and free of the diseases associated with aging for as long as possible.
- The company — backed by Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel — went public in May and is listed on the Nasdaq.
In animal trials, clearing senescent cells from an organism has shown promising results, as a groundbreaking aging study on destroying senescent cells published in 2016 by Jan van Deursen, a molecular biologist at the Mayo Clinic and fellow Unity Biotechnology co-founder, demonstrated. The study showed that by purging those cells in a mouse born on the same day, from the same litter, and raised in the same conditions as his brother mouse will make him look younger and preserve his health by delaying the onset of several conditions of mice old age: cataracts and a bent spine. What's more, van Deursen demonstrated that killing senescent cells in mice extended their lifespans by as much as one-third, while improving kidney function and making their hearts more resilient to stress.