Immortality has been a long sought-after dream of philosophers and kings for time immemorial. But it may soon be within the grasp of the U.S. military, which has announced plans to test an experimental anti-aging pill.
As early as next year, the military’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is set to begin testing an experimental nootropic pill that can stave off the effects of aging on soldiers.
The experiment, Breaking Defense reports, is part of a push to “improve human performance.” The pill “has the potential, if it is successful, to truly delay aging, truly prevent onset of injury — which is just amazingly game-changing,” Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for Special Operations Forces, acquisition, technology & logistics (SOF AT&L), said Friday.
SOCOM is using Other Transaction Authority (OTA) funds to partner with private biotech laboratory Metro International Biotech, LLC (MetroBiotech) in the pill’s development, which is based on what is called a “human performance small molecule,” Navy Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesperson explained.
“We have completed pre-clinical safety and dosing studies in anticipation of follow-on performance testing in fiscal year 2022,” said Hawkins.
The pill, pending successful performance and clinical tests, could make its way to the public as a new longevity treatment to stave off the effects of aging.
“These efforts are not about creating physical traits that don’t already exist naturally,” Hawkins said. “This is about enhancing the mission readiness of our forces by improving performance characteristics that typically decline with age.”
The pill is essentially a dietary supplement that boosts levels of the molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a compound found in the unregulated nootropics that have been linked to aging, which “is critically important to the function of all living cells.”
The hopes of the pill are to prevent age-related injuries, improve cognitive and mental capability, and keep soldiers’ performance from waning. If successful, the experimental pill “has the potential, if it is successful, to truly delay aging, truly prevent onset of injury — which is just amazingly game-changing,” Sanders told Breaking Defense.
Since its launch in 2018, SOCOM has spent $2.8 million in the research of the pill, Hawkins stated.
Sanders added that SOCOM has tried to steer clear from long-term genetic engineering, as it makes people uncomfortable, but noted that there is a huge commercial value for a product that could slow aging and improve sleep.