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Hope on the horizon: Life Extension

MIT faculty and researchers offer their thoughts on potentially life-altering
technologies that lie just around the corner.

Mehmet Fatih Yanik

Asst. Professor of Electrical Engineering

Significant extension of the human lifespan by disease-preventive and tissue-regenerative technologies within the next one to two decades will dramatically impact the world economy. These technologies will probably span everything from small molecule therapies and nano- and microscale devices to whole organ replacement technologies using stem cells. Beyond the scientific and technological hurdles, temporary challenges will include the cost versus benefit of these technologies, legal and ethical concerns, and regulations and strategic investment choices among various options. The current economic slowdown may delay this revolution, but I strongly believe it is unstoppable, and hopefully it will take place within most of our lifetimes.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 21, 2008 (download PDF).

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