Ilia Stambler. The unexpected outcomes of anti-aging, rejuvenation and life extension studies: an origin of modern therapies. Rejuvenation Research, 17, 297-305, 2014.



The search for life-extending interventions has been often perceived as a purely academic pursuit, or as an unorthodox medical enterprise, with little or no practical outcome. Yet, in fact, these studies, explicitly aiming to prolong human life, often constituted a formidable, though hardly ever acknowledged, motivation for biomedical research and discovery. At least several modern biomedical fields have originated directly from rejuvenation and life extension research: (1) Hormone replacement therapy was born in Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard's rejuvenation experiments with animal gland extracts (1889). (2) Probiotic diets originated in Elie Metchnikoff's conception of radically prolonged "orthobiosis" (c. 1900). (3) The development of clinical endocrinology owed much to Eugen Steinach's "endocrine rejuvenation" operations (c. 1910s-1920s). (4) Tissue transplantations in humans (allografts and xenografts) were first widely performed in Serge Voronoff's "rejuvenation by grafting" experiments (c. 1910s-1920s). (5) Tissue engineering was pioneered during Alexis Carrel's work on cell and tissue immortalization (c. 1900-1920). (6) Cell therapy (and particularly human embryonic cell therapy) was first widely conducted by Paul Niehans for the purposes of rejuvenation as early as the 1930s. Thus, the pursuit of life extension and rejuvenation has constituted an inseparable and crucial element in the history of biomedicine. Notably, the common principle of these studies was the proactive maintenance of stable, long-term homeostasis of the entire organism.


Download PDF



A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century


Longevity Advocacy

The Tasks of Longevity Promotion: Science, Ethics and Public Policy – Potential presentation topics on longevity research

Position Paper: The Critical Need to Promote Research of Aging

The pursuit of longevity – The bringer of peace to the Middle East. Current Aging Science, 6, 25-31, 2014

Longevity Science

Estimation of Heterogeneity in Diagnostic Parameters of Age-related Diseases. Aging and Disease, 5, 218-225, 2014.

Information theoretical analysis of aging as a risk factor for heart disease. Aging and Disease, 6, 196-207, 2015

Applying information theory analysis for the solution of biomedical data processing problems. American Journal of Bioinformatics, 3 (1), 17-29, 2015

Stop Aging Disease! ICAD 2014. Aging and Disease, 6 (2), 76-94, 2015

The Historical Evolution of Evolutionary Theories of Aging

Longevity History

Life-extensionism as a pursuit of constancy

Has aging ever been considered healthy? Frontiers in Genetics. Genetics of Aging, 6, 00202, 2015

Elie Metchnikoff – the founder of longevity science and a founder of modern medicine: In honor of the 170th anniversary. Advances in Gerontology, 28 (2), 207-217, 2015

Longevity and the Jewish Tradition

Longevity and the Indian Tradition

Longevity in the Ancient Middle East and the Islamic Tradition

Life extension – a conservative enterprise? Some fin-de-siecle and early twentieth-century precursors of transhumanism. Journal of Evolution and Technology, 21, 13-26, 2010

The unexpected outcomes of anti-aging, rejuvenation and life extension studies: an origin of modern therapies. Rejuvenation Research, 17, 297-305, 2014

Heroism and Heroic Death in Nineteenth Century Literature

On the history of life-extension research: Does the whole have parts? Sixth SENS Conference (SENS6). Reimagine Aging. Queens’ College – Cambridge UK, September 3-7, 2013