SENS: An Engineering Solution
SENS is the scientific roadmap that reveals how radical rejuvenation can be achieved in our lifetimes. The SENS "engineering" strategy is to directly repair, replace, or render harmless any structures damaged by ongoing metabolism. In this approach, metabolism still causes damage, but the total burden of such damage is always maintained at levels similar to a biologically young person's, allowing us to preserve youthful health and functionality.
Using home maintenance as a metaphor: if you're trying to keep your roof free from leaks, it's not necessary to know exactly how each and every shingle in your roof gets damaged, or to install a roof so sturdy that it will last forever. All that's required is to do regular maintenance on your roof, periodically replacing damaged shingles before enough damage builds up that the integrity of the roof is compromised. Likewise, it's not necessary to know the details of how aging damage accumulates in the body, but simply to remove, repair, and replace damaged cells and molecules often enough that the youthful function of our bodies is not impaired by them.
Thus, the engineering strategy avoids both of the problems inherent in the other approaches: it sidesteps our ignorance of metabolism because it does not attempt to interfere with metabolic processes and their production of side-effects; and it also pre-empts the chaos of pathology because it repairs the precursors of pathology early on, before they reach harmful levels.
This "engineering" approach forms the broad basis for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), a detailed plan for curing human aging.
The SENS Foundation Research Program
SENS will initially target seven foundational types of aging damage: the kinds that make our bodies frail and limit our healthy lifespan within our first hundred years. This first wave of therapies will not repair all of the damage of aging, but they will add significantly to healthy human longevity. Subsequent phases will be able to address further forms of aging damage that take longer to cause us problems, renewing the lease on healthy life afforded by the first wave of therapies.
The Repairing Damage section of our site identifies the seven kinds of aging damage that must be targeted in the first wave of rejuvenation therapies, the foreseeable medical technologies that can repair them, and the scientific research that SENS Foundation is funding to accelerate their mature clinical development. The planks of the SENS platform are also described in detail in Ending Aging, by SENS Foundation Chief Science Officer Dr Aubrey de Grey, and co-author Michael Rae. Copies are available from your local bookstore or Amazon.com.
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