The idea behind [Biotech startup] Unity—preventing aging—sounds crazy, but it’s backed by dozens of scientific papers, the key two in Nature. There are aging cells, called senescent cells, that build up throughout the body and contribute to what we think of as old age—things like achy joints, waning vision, even perhaps Alzheimer’s. Kill those senescent cells with drugs, [Nathaniel] David reasons, and people might be able to grow old without becoming infirm.
“Like, how awesome would it be?” asks David, a preternaturally youthful 50. “The problem is you have to take the first baby step to demonstrate it’s possible. That’s what chapter one is: demonstrate in a human being that the elimination of senescent cells takes a heretofore inescapable aspect of aging and can either halt it or reverse it.”
It’s an amazing goal, backed by great science, not to mention $222 million in venture capital and $85 million raised from a May initial public offering, which valued Unity at $700 million, flat with its last fundraising. But achieving that goal also entails incredible risk.
Unity has raised so much money precisely because its executives know it may take multiple tries to find a medicine. It’s not known what the risks of killing senescent cells are; it’s possible they could include, for instance, slow wound healing. There’s no way to know until human tests begin.
Read full, original post: A Biotech Entrepreneur Aims To Help Us Stay Young While Growing Old