Science fiction arrived early. Nanotechnology, microscopic sensors and machines, provide a breakthrough treatment for killing or preventing tumors. This is a major hurdle for those who want to live longer and happier lives.
In a new development described in Nature Nanotechnology, a group of researchers formulated a vaccine that achieved complete clearance of solid tumors and prevents tumor relapse. While still in the preliminary stages, this promises releaf and respite for over 1.9M victims each year.
This system of nano tech improves the body's immune responses to cancerous masses in ways that other treatments fail to do. While I won’t get into the nitty gritty details, suffice it to say that vaccines to prevent and reduce tumors are better than painful post facto treatments.
Professor Chen stated that "We are excited about this technology's potential for further application in other diseases as well, such as chronic viral infection." Next, the team hopes to establish a way to scale up production of the vaccine, a major hurtle in any medical development.
This innovation should have a huge impact on people who want to artificially extended their lifespans into the the hundred twenties and beyond. In the US, cancer is the second most common cause of death. Without cancer, people will continue to grow longer. The number of micro-growths in our bodies also contribute to our gradual decay, meaning we’ll maintain our mental and physical health for longer, meaning we won’t feel as old.
Exedingly long lives wanders into the realm of Sci-Fi, where we explore the implications and repercussions of near immortality. Overpopulation is a serious population, which will impact environmental change, housing crisese, and food shortages. Retirement age will have to change. Wealth accumulation among the elderly may make life harder on later generations. It is easy to see a dystopian future where only the wealthy can afford these life-extending procedures, in which case there will be two groups of humans, the wealthy enhanced people and the poor basic humans. A major question remains. Does a longer life mean we’ll have more fulfilling lives?
I don't know about you, but I welcome the challenges these questions present.
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