Medical advances over the last 150 years have led to humans living much longer lives than in the past. But the pace of medical discovery now is breathtaking, particularly with the progress in genomic research. In this video, recorded on March 11, Jason Hall, the host and multimedia specialist with The Motley Fool's Discovery Now, talks with 10x Genomics (TXG 3.76%) CEO Serge Saxonov about how human life expectancy could change over the next 25 years.
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Jason Hall: This is just an interesting philosophical question because we're going through this phase where we've seen the life expectancy, particularly in the developed world, increase and increase and increase from generation to generation, and there's some talk with obesity epidemic and that we could actually see generations lose some life expectancy. But Mike says, "What is your prediction on the impact of life expectancy for a world 25 years from now?"
Serge Saxonov: Well, [laughs] let me think about that. I would say it is a really curious thing. There reason I hesitate because I don't know if I understand why it has been dropping recently fully. We know it has been dropping, I think a lot of it has to do with social factors which we need to understand better before we can address them.
As far as the natural killers of humanity, we will extend healthspan. Because, again, looking 25 years out, whether it's heart disease which is still obviously a very large killer, but cancer, as I said, was absolutely will extend those timelines.
Then certainly for neurodegeneration, again, I don't know if 25 years from now, how much progress we'll make, but we'll make some. The trajectory in terms of when you think about the disease killers of humanity, definitely, we'll keep pushing those out.
My expectation is we will, overall, that health span, life span, life expectancy is going keep increasing, but we do need to figure out what is going on in the near term. A lot of it, again, I think is some social elements that will need solving.
Hall: If the timeline was 50 years, how much would that change your answer?
Saxonov: A lot, [laughs] which is why it's pretty incredible where we are going.