In 2011, Steve Horvath invented the first epigenetic clock, also known as the Horvath Clock, this revolutionary advancement changed everything (Horvath, 2020). Epigenetic clocks enable people to accurately assess the effectiveness of different kinds of preventative medicine instead of relying on treatments which only, or at least primarily, address symptoms.

Epigenetic clocks are a method of gauging someone’s biological age, the test measures the methylation of DNA, which was discovered by Horvath to be a profoundly accurate indicator of how much time an individual has left (Horvath, 2013). By measuring methylation, which can best be understood as rust on the DNA, the test can determine how old someone is biologically and what the risk of that person dying at a certain age is.

Using this test, it is now possible to design a cure to not only stop, but reverse aging, along with a host of other chronic diseases. Several distinct and well-funded organizations have assembled their own research teams working towards such treatments. Before the invention of the Horvath Clock, it was difficult to have any sure way of knowing how effective treatments meant to increase health span might be. With the introduction of the epigenetic clocks, it is as simple as measuring the methylation levels to see whether a given treatment, or lifestyle changes, have been effective (Liu et al., 2020). It is possible to study the effect any given action has on a person’s biological age to determine their future lifespan.

Horvath speculated that, based on his work, there would be a cure for aging by 2035 but has expressed that even these estimates may be conservative, and the situation may be even more optimistic (Horvath, 2020). Horvath has dedicated his entire career to finding the cure which can allow so many to live so much longer, and he is not alone. Because of this new medical breakthrough, it is now possible to establish whether a cure to aging is going to be effective based on methylation levels. The creation of such a cure is Horvath’s life’s work, but he is not alone on this journey; Integrated Health Systems closest partner, Bioviva, was founded to create a cure which will be affordable to everyone, to capitalize on the foundation laid in part by Horvath.

Other prominent individuals, such as George Church and David Sinclair, both professors of genetics at Harvard Medical School, among other achievements too impressive and extensive to give justice here have picked up on Horvath’s work and made considerable advancements. (Davies & Church, 2019) (Landau, 2019) (Sinclair, 2020) (Lu et al., 2019).

Both these scientists have made great strides in establishing the promise of research towards a general treatment for aging based on Horvath’s work. There is something of a race for a cure, and may the best man win, though at this point it only seems like a matter of time. Humanity is close; we will create a cure to reverse aging and it will change civilization in profound ways. The only questions which remains are how soon the project will be complete, at what level it will be finished, and at what cost it will be available to the common people, and as always… who will regulate it. The product itself is certainly going to be an important commodity.

Despite the potential for great progress, research could still be delayed if funding should dry up, and other world health crises can set research back for years or even decades. It is for this reason, those of us who want to see these kinds of advancements in medicine must remain diligent and keep pushing until the goal has been achieved. After all, we are close to a real response to the problem of aging, and every purchase, every donation or investment made, every person given hope, brings us just that much closer to profound change for the wide range of conditions ranging from cancer to simple old age.

There is hope, not just hope of treatment, but hope of being cured, of healing, of enjoying physical health despite one’s advancing years.  It is a generational change that many have sought throughout the ages.

Dedication

I would like to dedicate this article to the Maximum Life Foundation, who in recent months have worked wonders in terms of raising funds to pay for revolutionary treatment for patients with chronic illnesses, such as dementia. I encourage anyone reading this to consider donating at https://maxlife.org/funding/donate/. Your donation could make the difference for how quickly therapies like this become accessible to everyone, it could save people you know, it could save generations.

References

Álvarez-Errico, D., Vento-Tormo, R., Sieweke, M., & Ballestar, E. (2015). Epigenetic

control of myeloid cell differentiation, identity and function. Nature Reviews Immunology, 15(1), 7–17. https://doi.org/10.1038/nri3777

Carnesecchi, J., & Lohmann, I. (2020). Closing the gap: A roadmap to single‐cell

regulatory genomics. Molecular Systems Biology, 16(5) doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.capella.edu/10.15252/msb.20209497

Davies, K., & Church, G. M. (2019). Radical Technology Meets Radical

Application: An Interview with George Church. The CRISPR Journal, 2(6), 346-351. doi:10.1089/crispr.2019.29074.gch

Fahy, G. M., Brooke, R. T., Watson, J. P., Good, Z., Vasanawala, S. S., Maecker, H.,

Leipold, M. D., Lin, D., Kobor, M. S., & Horvath, S. (2019). Reversal of epigenetic aging and immunosenescent trends in humans. Aging cell, 18(6), e13028. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13028

GsmPlot: A web server to visualize epigenome data in NCBI. (2020). BMC

Bioinformatics, 21, 1. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.capella.edu/10.1186/s12859-020-3386-0

Horvath, S. (2020, March 19). Epigenetic Clocks Help to Find Anti-Aging Treatments |

Steve Horvath | TEDxBerkeley. Retrieved November 04, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuQKXux8UlE

Horvath, S. (2013). DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types. Genome

Biology, 14(10). doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-10-r115

Landau, M. (2019). An Interview with George Church. Clinical Chemistry, 66(1), 12-24.

doi:10.1093/clinchem.2019.302976

Liu, Z., Leung, D., Thrush, K., Zhao, W., Ratliff, S., Tanaka, T., Schmitz, L. L., Smith, J.

A., Ferrucci, L., & Levine, M. E. (2020). Underlying features of epigenetic aging clocks in vivo and in vitro. Aging Cell, 19(10), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13229

Lu, Y., Krishnan, A., Brommer, B., Tian, X., Meer, M., Vera, D. L., . . . Sinclair, D. A.

(2019). Reversal of ageing- and injury-induced vision loss by Tet-dependent epigenetic reprogramming. doi:10.1101/710210

Sinclair, D., LaPlante, M. D., & Delphia, C. (2019). Lifespan: Why we age–and why we

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repressive epigenetic modifications during induced reversal of cell identity. The EMBO Journal, 38(22). doi:10.15252/embj.2019101681

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