A Matter of Life and Death

What happens when the CEO of a bio-pharmaceutical company announces they want to end death as we know it within our generation? Ira Pastor of Bioquark has done just that.

There are so many articles that cover what the procedure entails, the ethics of the treatment, and possible results etc. I want to talk the concepts here, whether actually possible or a little in the sci-fi realm. Once past the idea of a potential zombie apocalypse, there are so many neat possibilities.

I do however, want to clarify we’re talking brain dead here, so can’t bring back great great grandma or gramps, yet. Bioquark specifically studies the use of biological drugs that will regenerate and repair human tissues. In this case of brain dead patients, damaged brain cells are repaired and the brain dead patient is cured. Simply put of course.

In nature, there are many examples of this regenerative capability. Let’s look at Salamanders- just one of many amphibians that have mastered regeneration. If needed, they can surrender their tail as a defense mechanism to escape predators. Later, the tail regrows over the course of a few weeks. Pastor used the term ‘biological time machine’ to describe this process. When the tail is lost, growth starts again as if at day one. The process repeats as many times as needed.

If other creatures can do this, why not humans too?! Stem cells are the key to this capability. They can regenerate an infinite of times and develop into a multitude of specific cells. I’ve always found this very fascinating. What can this be used for if we are able to master the technique?

We could cure Alzeimer’s, CHF, Parkinson’s, and cancer to name a few. And what of the billions of dollars spent on health care each year? When all diseases and injuries are cured, then what?

I don’t have a degree in biology, but I do know that we only use a small portion of our brain at any given time. Have any of you readers seen the movie Limitless? Could we gain access to more of our memory and other capabilities? Could we also design parts of our body? I’m talking anywhere from practical purpose such as strength and muscle tone to bizarre future fashions where we all have scales or something fishy like that.

What about the possible errors or other not so charming uses such as grafting, organ farming, and color, shape and size distortion in regeneration? When these brain dead patients wake, if the damaged tissue has been replaced, knock knock who’s there?

Finally, what about the value of human life? How will this be affected? Will it be a new thing to have a mind bank, and who owns these minds when all immediate family is dead in the far off future? One great read on this that I enjoyed very much is We Are Legion by Dennis E. Taylor.

Hey, don’t forget  we could have Stephen Hawking up and walking again. Oh, and Benjamin button anyone?!

Ira Pastor says this generation.

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