We’re all getting old. Yes, even you. More and more of our population are over
sixty, some living well into their nineties. And as we live longer our joints, organs
and tissues begin to fail. Thereby diminishing the quality of our
old age. Not to mention the societal cost of lost
productivity and long term care. Our current medical technologies allow for extroadinary feats of augmentation and
replacement, transplantation, pacemakers and artificial joints. Regenerative medicine goes further.
Promising the repair of dysfunctional body parts with our own living tissue. Many species can regenerate. A salamander
can re-grow it’s limbs, tail and even it’s eye. But sadly only a few bits of us, like a healthy
liver, can perform that trick. Coaxing the rest of our body to do it, requires more effort.
3D printed, bio-material scaffold coated with layers of
the patients cells and cooked up in a body-mimicking oven can produce viable vains, bladders and bone. And more complex organs like kidneys
aren’t far away. Adult stem cells, while proving difficult
to tame, promise injectable repairs for conditions like multiple sclerosis, type
one diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Techniques incorporating nano-technology
are also targeting spinal injuries, joint degeneration and failing organs. But in the world already burdened with
overpopulation, is it even ethical to invest and encourage extended longevity. Will our culture slow or stagnate without
retirements, or death of the old guard?