In biblical times, people were long-lived. It is said that Adam lived 930 years, and his son, Seth, lived to be 912. Seth's son, Lamech, lived 777 years, and Noah, Lamech's son, lived to be 950. Noah's son, Shem, lived to be 600, and his son, Arphaxad, lived 438 years. Skipping a few generations, Abraham lived to be 175; jumping a few more, Moses lived 120 years.
Recently, experts have generally agreed that humans have a theoretical maximum lifespan of 125 years--similar to Moses. Even if that estimate is correct, we know that our health declines many years--even decades--before that.
Many scientists believe that the 125-year lifespan, as well as the earlier decline in health, is caused by the gradual shortening of our "telomeres," which are the structures at the ends of our chromosomes. This shortening is believed to be the so-called "clock of aging" in our bodies.
The good news is that a human cell that does not undergo this shortening will divide indefinitely, which means that it would be literally immortal. Bottom line: If we could find a way to stop--or reverse--this shortening, we could live forever!
Enter Sierra Sciences, LLC, a biotechnology company founded in 1999. The company is dedicated to preventing--or reversing--cellular aging, ultimately curing diseases associated with human aging, including the aging process itself. Here's how: Our reproductive cells don't experience shortening of telomeres; they don't age. They have an enzyme, "telomerase," which re-lengthens the telomeres as they shorten. Sierra Sciences is searching for pharmaceuticals that will produce telemorase in all our cells.
If successful, the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon thought he had found when he landed in St. Augustine, Florida, is actually 2,800 miles northwest, in Reno, Nevada. That's where you'll find the home of Sierra Sciences.