Pura Muñoz Cánoves, longevity researcher at Altos Labs

"The proof of concept is there: it is possible to go back in time"

Pura Muñoz, thinking about the bright future of rejuvenation research

Who we're talking about: Pura Muñoz Cánoves, a Spanish longevity research working on mechanisms of muscle regeneration. Muñoz was a professor at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona until last March, when she was recruited to work at Altos Labs, the secretive $3-billion longevity startup funded by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

Why this is a big deal: Altos has brought together some of the biggest names in longevity research, including Nobel-prize winner Shinya Yamanaka and Steve Horvath, the inventor of the aging clock.

As a result, Altos is doing some of the most advanced and exciting rejuvenation work today. Last year, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a director at the Altos Labs institute in San Diego, gave a talk in Boston about this work that had such attendance that police had to be called to clear the room.

And the news is: Two weeks ago, Muñoz was profiled and interviewed in El País. She talked about her own research, and gave a peek at the work being done inside Altos. A few interesting quotes:

  • "The proof of concept is there: it is possible to go back in time a little. And that proof of concept gives you hope of figuring out how to do it safely."

  • "It will not be very complicated for those already born to live to 100 years, or more than 100 for those born now."

  • "Rejuvenating and turning back the clock is something very revolutionary that is not going to happen tomorrow, but I think that the accumulation of advances is going to generate synergies that will make us go faster than we think now."

What's next? Altos Labs' approach is not to fix stuff in the body that's aged and become worn out, but rather to reset the entire human body to a younger state. This has already been done in mice, and is currently being tested in monkeys.

Like Muñoz says, such rejuvenation won't come to humans tomorrow, but it might come faster than you might think. If you're curious about this future, the El País interview with Muñoz is worth a read.