26/04/2016 10:56 BST

Want To Live Forever? A Company Claims To Have Reversed The Ageing Process

The controversial claim has the scientific community in uproar.

Immortality is for many the final great achievement for mankind. To effectively halt the ageing process it would signify that humans finally have complete control over their own lives.

Well a company now claims that it has made a first major step towards that achievement by using gene therapy to reverse the ageing process in one test subject: Its CEO.

BioViva USA claim to have successfully rejuvenated and reversed 20 years of the ageing process inside Elizabeth Parrish's body.

The process involves lengthening the telomere of white blood cells. A telomere is the cap at the end of each chromosome which acts as a protective buffer against wear and tear.


As we get older however the telomere gets smaller and smaller leading to chromosome breakdown and ultimately causing the body to age.

What BioViva claim to have done is effectively lengthen Parrish's telomeres by directly altering her genes.

Gene therapy is a controversial technique that has the potential to revolutionise the way we fight diseases from Alzheimer's to cancer.

The problem that faces the scientific community however is that it is not without controversy.

Michael Kooren / Reuters
An operator installs a chromatography column to purify the gene therapy drug Glybera at Dutch biotech company uniQure.

For starters you're directly altering the genes within a human which is incredibly dangerous, then of course there's the moral questions associated with effectively altering a person's makeup.

Finally there's the company itself: BioViva have been incredibly secretive about its achievement and many in the scientific community are distancing themselves from the announcement until independant verification can confirm what has taken place.

With such a large community trying to sell 'immortality' it's hardly surprising that many are concerned that this could all just be another publicity stunt.