A British doctor claims we are not too far away from virtually living forever -- in fact, he thinks the first person to live 1,000 years will be born in our lifetime.
Aubrey de Grey is what Reuters calls a "biomedical gerontologist," and is the head of a California-based foundation dedicated to longevity research.
"I'd say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," de Grey said. "And what I mean by decisive is the same sort of medical control that we have over most infectious disease today."
All aging is, said de Grey, is the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. De Grey said there will be a day when people go to the doctor for regular "maintenance" on their bodies.
"The idea is to engage in what you might call preventative geriatrics, where you go in to periodically repair that molecular and cellular damage before it gets to the level of abundance that is pathogenic."
De Grey said he is working with his colleagues to identity enzymes in other species that can clean out the "garbage," as he calls it, from cells, and then bring that technology to humans.
Once this is accomplished, de Grey said there really is no limit on just how long people can live.
"I call it longevity escape velocity -- where we have a sufficiently comprehensive panel of therapies to enable us to push back the ill health of old age faster than time is passing. And that way, we buy ourselves enough time to develop more therapies further as time goes on," he said.
"But But there really shouldn't be any limit imposed by how long ago you were born. The whole point of maintenance is that it works indefinitely."