One-Two Punch: Biohacks + Bodyhacks
Recently, I wrote about the differences and overlap between the disciplines of bodyhacking and biohacking. In this article I’d like to explore some powerful practical examples of the combination of biohacking and bodyhacking where there is a clear delineation between the biohacking and bodyhacking activities but the two are interdependent or worth more than the sum of their parts.
First, let’s explore the recently published results of a 10-year effort by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging to identify the genes responsible for aging. This effort has led to researchers finding 238 specific genes that, when removed from yeast cells in the laboratory, significantly extend the lifespan of those cells. Almost half of these identified genes are conserved in mammals and could therefore theoretically be manipulated to impact the aging processes of the mammals which have them, including humans. For the details, you can read the full research paper published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
This research, performed by manipulating genes within yeast organisms, monitoring the rate of cell reproductions, and identifying the genes related to aging, is very clearly biohacking. By using gene therapies to extend the findings of this research to practical application in existing organisms with bodies such as mammals and humans, the science then extends into the realm of bodyhacking.
Next, consider EpiBone, a startup company that grows bones from stem cells. Biohacking up some new bone from a fragment of a cow bone and the intended recipient’s stem cells is amazing, but what use is it if you’re not going to take the next step and repair the recipient’s body with it? To display it as an organic art piece on a shelf? It’s obviously much more useful when used to repair or replace a damaged or missing component of the body in an actual living organism like a human, taking the replacement material that was created biohacking and bodyhacking yourself up with it.
Finally, I’d like to bring your attention to some recent groundbreaking new advances in the fight against Type-1 diabetes by researchers at Harvard University. Using embryonic stem cells, researchers at Harvard were able to create insulin-producing cells which are almost identical to those found in the human body. Rather than living with daily insulin injections for the rest of your life, biohacking up some new insulin-producing cells and then bodyhacking yourself by transplanting them is exactly the kind of one-two punch that biohacking paired with bodyhacking can deliver in the fight against prolific diseases and in search of other repairs and improvements to the body.