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  • Can Google Do What Big Pharma Could (Will) Not Do?

    September 19, 2013: by Bill Sardi

    There is one technology challenge that is still beyond the reach of wealthy elite humans — avoidance of death.

    Dare they chase the wind in an attempt to capture immortality?

    That is what Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page now sets his sights on – an anti-aging pill.  However, there are a lot of obstacles intentionally being thrown in the way.

    Google’s objective is not new, nor is it far-fetched.

    In the 1970s it became clear that genes could be altered (epigenetics) and gerontologists predicted 250-year life spans would become common.  The prospect of an anti-aging pill was in the air.  Then such talk suddenly vanished.

    Life insurance actuaries were briefed on the possibility of an anti-aging pill and recognized no one would purchase their product if they were going to live that long.  Also there were unfounded concerns of over-population (human populations in western Europe, North America and Japan are now declining) and even Time magazine weighed in on the debate by saying something to the effect “we have birth control, but not age control.”

    With thinking like that, elitists scuttled the idea to the present day.  Then, about a decade ago, a Harvard professor, David Sinclair said an anti-aging pill was within reach and it might be modeled around a red wine molecule called resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trol).

    But Sinclair’s developmental anti-aging pill company was purchased by GlaxoSmithKline who summarily ditched any further R&D on the red wine pill (including the possibility of making it a dietary supplement) and offered “new chemical entities” in its place that Sinclair said were 1000-times more potent than resveratrol.  However, these patentable synthetic molecules have fizzled in subsequent tests.

    Sinclair, speaking out because he now has achieve tenure at Harvard, said this idea is feasible and within reach if a drug company has the resolve to make it a reality.  But Sinclair also said it would likely replace 20 classes of prescription drugs.  Can’t have that!

    So now Sinclair has changed his predictions and says such a pill is now maybe 20 years away from becoming a reality.  Perpetually push this idea off to some nebulous time in the future when humanity is ready for it– that is when all the patents on existing synthetic drugs have expired.

    Sinclair is right.  Longevity genes can be altered by diets (limited calories) and molecular mimics of calorie-restriction (anti-aging pills).  But how to proceed when it appears Big Pharma is standing in the way?

    Whatever Big Pharma couldn’t do (or refuses to do) Google now proposes to do. Will these billion-dollar giants butt heads?

    Meanwhile, Google’s Larry Page is battling a more immediate problem with paralysis in his vocal cords, a problem that could be aided by hyaluronic acid, which serves as a cushion for nerves.  Hyaluornic acid is an available dietary supplement.

    The problem of a drug model for an anti-aging pill is that unless health insurance plans pay for it (they only reimburse for disease care now), it would likely be beyond the affordability of the masses.  It would be confined to being an elitist pill for the Larry Page’s of the world.  ©2013 Bill Sardi,

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