Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has heavily invested in Unity Biotechnology, a Silicon Valley anti-aging firm that aims to eliminate many chronic age-related ailments for good. The company has developed a special and groundbreaking technology that keeps your healthy cells dividing as they should even as you enter your old age.
You’ve heard all the claims before about anti-aging products and technology, yet you look around and don’t really see any major differences yet. So, is this time different? Is Unity Biotechnology the real deal? Well, the jury is still out on that, but what is certain is that the startup has raised $116 million in a Series B funding round, including substantial contributions from Jeff Bezos’ venture capital firm. That’s quite a vote of confidence from one of the savviest minds in the industry.
Unity seems pretty confident that their goals aren’t a pie-in-the-sky dream, but rather a proximate reality. They expect to enter human trials in the next 12-18 months, beginning with a specific focus on age-related eye disease.
Your body’s cells are constantly dividing and creating new cells from existing healthy ones. That’s a normal part of your body’s everyday normal functioning, but the problem occurs when bad cells start replicating out of control — hence the spread of cancer and other ailments. Your body has a natural defense to this, however. If your body thinks a cell is damaged or diseased, it will shut down the replication process to keep the disease from spreading. The problem occurs when you age, and healthy cells don’t replicate the way they should or used to.
Unity’s proprietary technology claims to be able to keep those good cells splitting longer and longer as you grow older, which ensures that your body stays healthy and disease-free well into your old age. So, in this case, “anti-aging” doesn’t literally mean to stop the flow of aging. It simply means the avoidance of many chronic age-related ailments which used to be considered inevitable.
If Unity Biotechnology is able to fulfill its goals and the vision it has for the future of medical biotechnology, the experience of aging may be completely different in just a few decades. We may be able to say goodbye permanently to age-associated conditions such as glaucoma, arthritis, and heart disease. Lifespans may increase, but more importantly, the quality of life as we age would be profoundly improved. Much of the difficulty in aging comes not in growing old per se, but rather in withstanding the degenerative diseases that come along with aging.