Biogerontologist, Dr. Aubrey De Grey is a researcher at the forefront of Anti-Aging research. He calls his overall approach to Anti-Aging SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), which is a fancy term for interventions aimed at extending healthy human life-span.
Dr. De Grey is a computer scientist turned biologist, which allows him to see problems in a different light than others who have worked exclusively in the field of biology. He sees the problem of aging as the last and greatest disease to be overcome, and takes it on as an engineering problem.
Put simply, aging results when "damage", a side effect of metabolism (living), causes pathology.
Gerontology attempts to inhibit the rate at which damage occurs, while Geriatrics attempts to hold back the sands of time by stopping the damage from turning into pathology.
Aubrey's engineering approach involves periodic repair of damage to keep it at a level below the threshhold at which it causes pathology.
There is a long list of processes of metabolism that cause damage, and similarily the list of age-related types of pathology is quite long. However, there are only exactly 7 things that qualify as damage, according to Aubrey:
Nuclearmutations and epimutations
Junk inside cells
Junk outside cells.
That's all! This list has not been added to in 25 years. In the same way that it is not necessary to understand the complete underlying physical and chemical processes behind the rusting of a car, for example, in order to be able to repair it, from an engineering perspective it should not be necessary to understand the complete underlying processes behind metabolism and pathology in order to repair/prevent the 7 types of biological damage.
Even better news is that we already know how to fix all 7 of the types of damage, in principal, in mice. Several have already been demonstrated in mice. Aubrey believes that we should be able to demonstrate Robust Mouse Rejuvination (RMR) within a decade - with sufficient funding. Robust Human Rejuvination (RHR) - the ultimate goal of this research, and the holy grail of anti-aging - should follow within a decade or two at most.
The Methusala Mouse Prize - www.mprize.org, fashioned after the XPrize of rocketry, is an incentive to researchers to push along this research.