Landmark Debate Sparks Scientific Showdown: Can We Reverse or Simply Halt Aging?

The quest to extend healthy human lifespan has reached a critical juncture, with two competing theories vying for dominance: Can we reverse aging, or slow it down and even halt it? This question will take center stage in a landmark debate, “How to Defeat Aging,” featuring scientific heavyweights Aubrey de Grey and Peter Fedichev.

Preface by Misha Batin of Open Longevity
This is the most important event in longevity in 2024 and one of the most crucial conversations in our field to date. The Nobel Prizes, most of the hype and investment, and humanity’s hopes for radical life extension currently revolve around rejuvenation.

Aubrey de Grey is an influential author and a staunch advocate for achieving radical life extension through a comprehensive system of rejuvenation. On the other hand, Peter Fedichev and the Gero team, which he leads, recognize the value of rejuvenation. In fact, they have an in-house project that has produced partial rejuvenation in old mice, and they are now developing an mRNA vaccine that could be the first rejuvenation/anti-aging vaccine. This drug has the potential to address many age-related diseases with unmet needs and significant market potential.

However, Dr. Fedichev makes a strong case, covered by Popular Mechanics, about the limitations of rejuvenation for humans, suggesting it might offer only around 10-15 additional years of lifespan at best. This assertion, backed by several publications and public presentations, has made waves in our community, earning the Gero team the nickname “The Rejuvenation Party Poopers.”

If Dr. Fedichev is correct, the last thing we want is to lose a decade or two before this realization becomes widespread. According to the Gero team, with current technologies, we have the potential to double our lifespan—or even live for hundreds of years—by halting aging, as seen in negligibly senescent animals like naked mole rats and some species of bats. However, the therapeutic targets, drugs, and biomarkers should be completely different from those used by the modern longevity industry to achieve rejuvenation effects. To reach the market in roughly 10 years, dozens of such approaches should start now. Yet, the Gero vision is very contrarian to the current mainstream in longevity science and industry, despite having papers in reputable journals and deals with major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer based on their technology rooted in Fedichev’s theory.

If Fedichev is right, those investing in life extension or supporting longevity startups—such as Sam Altman, Jeff Bezos, Yuri Milner, Brian Armstrong, Blake Byers, Michael Greve, Larry Page, and Bill Maris, —along with new investors, granting agencies, and entrepreneurs, should consider diversifying their bets. They should think not just about rejuvenation but also about halting aging by mechanisms as Fedichev suggests and start funding such approaches immediately. Time is ticking, and we could be the last generation to die from aging if we all go in the wrong direction.

For many years, numerous aging theories have peacefully coexisted, with their proponents publishing papers, receiving grants, starting companies, and being cordial to one another. We now find ourselves in a postmodern situation where almost everyone in gerontology refrains from directly critiquing other approaches. The field and humanity are losing out because of this. We need open debate to address critical questions, set trends for future research, and develop effective therapies.

The Longevity Boom: A Race Against Time
The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented surge of interest and investment in longevity research. No longer confined to the fringes of science, the quest for extended lifespan has captured the attention and resources of some of the world’s most influential figures. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Yuri Milner, and Sam Altman have poured significant funds into ventures like Altos Labs and Retro Bio, fueling a new wave of ambitious research and development. However, these investments, while substantial, remain dwarfed by the immense complexity and critical importance of solving the aging problem.

This influx of capital has propelled longevity science into the mainstream, sparking a flurry of activity and innovation. Promising drugs, showing potential for age reversal in mice, are already undergoing human clinical trials. This momentum makes it a pivotal moment to pause, reflect, and rigorously examine the most promising paths forward. The “How to Defeat Aging” debate aims to do just that in a battle of ideas that could shape the future of human health and longevity.

Longevity industry insiders are quite confident that there are no laws of nature that limit human lifespan; healthy human life can be extended to hundreds of years. But how fast — and by which means? Will you and your loved ones still be alive and healthy, or will you be the last generation to die from aging? The difference of a few decades earlier or later is a matter of life or death for billions of people, including yours. We need to move quickly in the right direction to ensure these technologies reach the maximum number of people alive today. This urgency underscores the importance of understanding precisely what the right direction in anti-aging research is, and what the most effective actions are to take.

This debate is not only about the next big thing in science, business, and civilization; it’s fundamentally about saving lives.

The Contenders
Aubrey de Grey, the visionary biomedical gerontologist behind the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), firmly believes that aging is reversible. He envisions a future where rejuvenation therapies could comprehensively repair the damage of aging, potentially extending human life far beyond current limits.

Peter Fedichev, a physicist turned aging scientist, offers a contrasting perspective. His models, rooted in complex systems physics, suggest that even though aging in mice can be and has been experimentally reversed, aging in humans is mostly stochastic, is characterized by the entropy increase, and as such is likely irreversible with existing or foreseeable means. Fedichev argues that while complete reversal might be practically impossible, we can significantly extend healthy lifespan by focusing on halting the aging process.

The Jury and the Stakes
An esteemed jury will be carefully weighing the evidence presented by each side. The stakes are high, with a 10,000 USDT prize awaiting the scientist whose arguments and evidence prove most compelling.


  • Prof. David Furman (Buck/Stanford)
  • Prof. Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk (UCI)
  • Prof. Guo Huang (UCSF)
  • Prof. Thomas Stoeger (Northwestern)
  • Prof. Mattew Yosefzadeh (Columbia)
Broader Implications
This debate is not merely an intellectual exercise. Its conclusions could reshape the landscape of longevity research, influencing funding decisions, regulatory policies, and public awareness. By openly addressing the fundamental questions of what aging is and how we can combat it, this debate will help chart the future of human health and longevity.
Join the Conversation
Don’t miss this pivotal moment in longevity science. The “How to Defeat Aging” debate will be held on May 27, 2024, at the Foresight Institute.
A live broadcast will be available on YouTube, allowing audiences worldwide to participate in this crucial conversation.