Founded in 2011, Unity Biotech isn't on some delusional quest to make us all immortal. After all, studies have shown that even the most incredible advances in medicine probably can't change the fact that the human body simply gives out around 115 years. Rather, its mission is to help us live more active, comfortable lives up until the day we croak by developing drugs that selectively eliminate certain stagnating cells in our bodies that cause the painful, debilitating diseases associated with old age.
Without getting too technical, the science involves targeting and removing what are known as senescent cells, or cells that serve as "emergency brakes," preventing dangerous or cancerous cells from multiplying out of control. The trouble is, as we age, these senescent cells don't leave. They linger around in our bodies and actually inflame the regular cells around them, causing conditions like arthritis, macular degeneration, and kidney disease. The trick, essentially, is to find a way to make these senescent cells self-destruct once they've served their purpose. Cellular suicide, if you will. It's not some pie-in-the-sky theory, either -- studies have shown that mice appear to stop aging after their senescent cells are removed.