Want to know when you’re going to die, asks MIT Technology Review in a story for its October/November issue.
“I would love to know when I’m going to die,” Brian Chen, chief science officer for Life Epigenetics, tells writer Karen Weintraub. “That would influence how I approach life.”
The story details the work of Dr. Steve Horvath whose lifespan prediction technology is exclusively licensed for financial services by GWG Holdings for its subsidiaries Life Epigenetics and YouSurance. GWG Holdings licensed the technology in 2017 to be used in the underwriting and pricing of life insurance. YouSurance was launched in October to begin testing the hypothesis that the analysis of the epigenetic signature in saliva could replace a paramedical exam that is the standard method of underwriting and pricing life insurance.
The MIT Technology Review story tells the story of the discovery of Horvath’s technology. The UCLA professor has an identical twin living in his home country of Germany and he used that relationship as the basis of the study that produced lifespan prediction.
Horvath was studying the basis for sexual orientation among twins. Horvath found “zero signal” for that in the epigenetics of the twins’ saliva. Instead, what caught his attention was a powerful link between epigenetic changes and aging. “I was blown away by how strong the signal was,” he told Weintraub. “I dropped most other projects in my lab and said: ‘This is the future.'”
The story quotes Life EGX board member Morgan Levine about her work at Yale. “Your genes aren’t your fate, but even less so with things like epigenetics,” she is quoted. “There definitely should be things we can do to delay aging if we can just figure out what they are.”