The Longevity Seekers

Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth

Ted Anton

Ted Anton

240 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $26.00 ISBN: 9780226020938 Published May 2013
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226020952 Published May 2013
People have searched for the fountain of youth everywhere from Bimini to St. Augustine. But for a steadfast group of scientists, the secret to a long life lies elsewhere: in the lowly lab worm. By suppressing the function of just a few key genes, these scientists were able to lengthen worms’ lifespans up to tenfold, while also controlling the onset of many of the physical problems that beset old age. As the global population ages, the potential impact of this discovery on society is vast—as is the potential for profit.

With The Longevity Seekers, science writer Ted Anton takes readers inside this tale that began with worms and branched out to snare innovative minds from California to Crete, investments from big biotech, and endorsements from TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Oz. Some of the research was remarkable, such as the discovery of an enzyme in humans that stops cells from aging. And some, like an oft-cited study touting the compound resveratrol, found in red wine—proved highly controversial, igniting a science war over truth, credit, and potential profit. As the pace of discovery accelerated, so too did powerful personal rivalries and public fascination, driven by the hope that a longer, healthier life was right around the corner. Anton has spent years interviewing and working with the scientists at the frontier of longevity science, and this book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art research and the impact it might have on global public health, society, and even our friends and family.

With spectacular science and an unforgettable cast of characters, The Longevity Seekers has all the elements of a great story and sheds light on discoveriesthat could fundamentally reshape human life.
 

Society of Midland Authors: Midland Authors Award
Honorable Mention

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
Daniel S. Greenberg, author of Science for Sale

“Research, money, and ego are the basic ingredients in the modern-day quest to live longer—or forever. Ted Anton takes us into the laboratories and boardrooms in the worldwide competition for longevity, and with expertise and wit tells a wondrous story of contemporary science.”

Brenda Fowler, author of Iceman
"A lively and at times humorous account of the search for the 'longevity genes,' told from the perspective of the pioneers in the field. Anyone with an interest in the new science of aging or the ways in which business and the media influence science is sure to enjoy this book."
Peter Atkins, University of Oxford, author of Galileo's Finger
"In this lively account, Ted Anton shares his fascination with what goes on when creatures age, and explores the possibility that aging can be delayed or even avoided. With a lively and accessible style, he conveys the concepts, the personalities,  and the pressures in the world of serious but enthusiastic research that one day might turn us all into Methuselahs."
Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook
"We've been searching for the so-called fountain of youth for centuries, but Ted Anton makes the quest invigoratingly new again in this beautifully told story of twenty-first-century researchers in pursuit of the secrets of longevity. There's vividly clear science here and there's the grit and determination of the scientists themselves, and the result is a book both engaging and illuminating on the subject of the long, long life."
John Seabrook, author of Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention
"If I live to be 150—and thanks to Ted Anton I now know how—I doubt I will ever read a book about the science of aging as enthralling as The Longevity Seekers."


Chicago Book Review
"Ted Anton has crafted an engaging, accessible examination of the quest to understand longevity. . . . [The Longevity Seekers] unwinds like a fast-paced thriller, as Anton recounts the highly competitive race in which scientists, research labs, and global drug companies engage in the search for a magic bullet to extend human life. Quirky, temperamental scientists butt heads. Wealthy venture capitalists seek to monetize scientific research. Scientific journals rush to publish unsubstantiated findings. Big pharma capitalizes on promising though nascent studies . . . A fascinating look at the players who have brought the notion of antiaging to the fore.”
Ageing and Society
“An accessible insight into a complex research area . . . [The Longevity Seekers] is an easy and interesting read, with a clear, well-structured format, comprehensive notes section, and a very interesting summary of the timeline of developments.”
Health Affairs
The Longevity Seekers is a must read. The characters are fascinating. And the stories behind the breakthroughs that have already occurred are gripping enough to compete with a mystery novel. Any one of the scientists profiled by Anton is likely to change the course of history. Having the opportunity to read the background behind the story, before it happens, is a privilege.”
Contents
A Note on Purpose
Preface

Part 1. From Obscurity, 1980–2005
1 “Greater Than the Double Helix Itself,” 1980–1990
2 The Grim Reaper, 1991–1993
3 Sorcerer’s Apprentices, 1991–1996
4 Race for a Master Switch, 1989–2000
5 Money to Burn, 2000–2003
6 Longevity Noir, 2003- 2004
7 Betting the Trifecta, 2005–2006

Part 2. Defying Gravity: The Battle to Find a Drug for Extending Health, 2005–2013
8 Sex, Power and the Wild: The Evolution of Aging, 2001–2008
9 The Rush and Crisis, 2008–2010
10 Live Long and Prosper, 2009–2011
11 Centenarians in the Making, 2011–2013
12 Fountains of Youth, 2013–
13 Reimagining Age

Epilogue

Acknowledgments
Longevity Gene Timeline
List of Longevity Genes

Notes
About the Author
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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