Dr. de Grey, SENS Research Foundation

WRIN.tv speaks with Dr. Aubrey de Grey during the 2015 European Insurance Forum. He is a biomedical gerontologist and Chief Science Officer at the SENS Research Foundation, and discusses the latest in regenerative medicine and what longer life expectancy means to the insurance industry.

Dr. de Grey says regenerative medicine refers to stem cell therapy and tissue engineering, or the creation of artificial organs. It includes “repairing the molecular and cellular structure of the body.”

Within regenerative medicine, stem cell research is the most advanced, with many areas in critical trial, including treatments for macular degeneration or Parkinson’s disease.  Other research is the beginning stages of development, but progress is very encouraging.

According to Dr. de Grey, regenerative medicine will affect longevity because it ”repairs damage instead of slowing down the accumulation of damage.”  If you repair the damage in a middle aged person that has been accumulating in their body… you put them back into a younger biological age.  “So the impact on longevity could be dramatic.”

There are societal consequences to these medicines because they will people who are suffering the diseases and disabilities of old age.  Dr. de Grey notes that these diseases and disabilities represent 90% of the medical expenditure and medical care that is undertaken in the industrialized world.”   “We won’t have people with Alzheimer’s disease, or heart disease, osteoporosis…” The consequences of longevity are going to be quite substantial.

The insurance industry will be affected substantially. By keeping people youthful, the risk of death will no longer go up with age and this will have consequences for pricing of life insurers and pension plans.  There will be short term pain while the industry adjusts to new norms.

For more World Risk and Insurance News from the 2015 European Insurance Forum (EIF) in Dublin, visit the dedicated EIF 2015 Channel in the WRIN.tv On Demand Library.

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