55 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   João Pedro de Magalhães CHANGING THE SOUL OF MAN The  ultimate  aim  of  research  on  aging  is  to  create  what medieval alchemists called ‘Elixir Vitae’, what science-fiction writer David Zindell called ‘Godseed’ [34] an entity capable of reversing the molecular and cellular changes that occur as we age and changing the genome of our cells to prevent aging from happening again. Initially, the Elixir will need to trans- mit a signal to drive regeneration, as happens in apparently non-aging animals such as lobsters [35] and turtles. [36] It may even be the case that tissue regeneration will eliminate damaged molecules and quiescent cells while at the same time restoring function. Otherwise the Elixir will have to incorpo- rate ways to eliminate nonfunctional nanostructures and cells while at the same time restoring youthful vigor. Afterwards, the regenerated tissue will need to be prevented from aging again,   probably   by   including   the   necessary   instructions together with the instructions ordering regeneration. [37]. From a technological perspective, the Elixir will likely be a combination of the techniques presented previously: a mix of RNAi, gene therapy, and stem cells. The goal is to instruct the body’s cells to regenerate while suppressing undesired genes. In addition, even if we do not know in detail how to reverse all age-related changes and pathologies, we may address specific pathologies through conventional therapies. For instance, to rejuvenate the immune system we will need to prevent the thymus from degenerating and so specific interventions will be necessary. Eventually, novel nanostructures may allow us to reverse specific age-related degenerative changes. [32] Yet we will not need mature nanotechnology for building the Elixir. It is impossible to say if man-made molecular assemblers will emerge in 10, 50, or 500 years from now, so we should not, and need not, depend upon nanotechnology to cure aging. As such, the core of the Elixir will likely be stem cells.