Jeff Bezos is paying to find a way to make humans immortal

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    It seems that Jeff Bezos he has plans to cheat death and make humans immortal.

    The founder and former CEO of Amazon has invested in the newly launched Altos Labs, a biotech company focused on “programming cellular rejuvenation to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine”, according to a press release on January 19. With $3 billion of backing on day one, Altos Labs has hit a screeching halt with what may be the biggest funding round for a biotech company, according to London’s Financial Times.

    Altos Labs boasts an impressive cadre of executives including experts who have worked at GlaxoSmithKline, a UK healthcare company that primarily develops pharmaceuticals and vaccines; Genentech, a San Francisco-based biotech company that created the first antibody directed against cancer; and the National Cancer Institute. The quest to cheat death is as old as life itself, but this is an especially demanding group to rise to the challenge.

    Supervised by teams of luminaries in their respective fields, Altos will open two laboratories in California, in the Bay Area and in San Diego, according to the press release. He will also have a laboratory in Cambridge, England, and will collaborate with scientists from Japan. The formal announcement is peppered with Nobel prizes, but remains sketchy, as these things often are. The company will join San Francisco-based Calico Labs, another startup looking to defy death; it’s also funded by another wealthy tech entrepreneur, according to a September report from MIT Technology Review: Larry Page, one of Google’s co-founders.

    Bezos isn’t the only investor in the wacky mega-hive of anti-aging geniuses. Yuri Milner – a Russian-born billionaire who got rich funding Facebook, as well as the Russian email service and the Russian social network VK – is another wealthy backer. Now he lives in Palo Alto, in the hills of Los Altos, hence the name of the laboratory. (“Los Altos,” a Spanish phrase, roughly translates to “the heights,” perhaps suggesting the scientific goals of Altos in a double sense.)

    But what do these scientists actually do? Since the company’s launch announcement is scant on details, we can look for some clues in the research history of some of the Altos scientists.

    Shinya Yamanaka is a Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and a doctorate in pharmacology. (the study of the effects of drugs on living organisms), who has worked as a teacher and later as an administrator for decades. He heads the stem cell research department at Kyoto University and joins Altos as an unpaid senior scientist. His 2012 Nobel Prize honors his work in “reprogramming” cells, whereby cells can be made to reverse their development toward that of stem cells.

    Since winning the Nobel Prize, Yamanaka’s work with stem cells has been used to study treated whole mice. But the results include some frightening growths, called teratomas, that are rare among human fetuses: About 1 in 30,000 babies is born with a teratoma. Teratomas are not usually malignant, but they are unsightly and disturbing as a side effect. (But in a way, their development, mirroring what happens in human fetuses, shows that the “reverse aging” process may be at work.)

    Yamanaka’s work may stand out in a positive sense, but there is also a somewhat notorious scientist on the team: Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, whose lab was the one that applied Yamanaka’s findings to whole mice. Izpisúa Belmonte came under scrutiny and criticism for research that began hybridizing human and monkey embryos.

    Where does Bezos fit into this picture? So far, his involvement has only been confirmed through people who attended a big meeting about “how biotech could be used to make people younger.”, at Milner’s Los Altos mansion in October 2020, as MIT Technology Review reports. The Los Altos release announcement does not include any comments from you. But it’s easy to see how rewinding time could appeal to the man whose other interests include far-reaching investments like the 10,000-year clock. Maybe he hopes to still be there in the end

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Jeff Bezos is paying to find a way to make humans immortal