It's called "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence", and its goal is nothing short of rewriting the last chapter of human existence:

The traditional gerontological approach to life extension is to try to slow down [the] accumulation of damage. This is a misguided strategy, firstly because it requires us to improve biological processes that we do not adequately understand, and secondly because it can even in principle only retard aging rather than reverse it. An even more short-termist alternative is the geriatric approach, which is to try to stave off pathology in the face of accumulating damage; this is a losing battle because the continuing accumulation of damage makes pathology more and more inescapable.

Instead, the engineering (SENS) strategy is not to interfere with metabolism per se, but to repair or obviate the accumulating damage and thereby indefinitely postpone the age at which it reaches pathogenic levels. This is practical because it avoids both of the problems with the other approaches: it sidesteps our ignorance of metabolism (because it does not attempt to interfere with metabolic processes and their production of side-effects) but also it pre-empts the chaos of pathology (because it repairs the precursors of pathology, rather than addressing the pathology head-on).

A tall order indeed. And this mass of semi-technical terms is actually understating the case. Cambridge University biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey says that aging can be, literally, "cured":

At the moment, a 50-year-old has roughly a 10% greater chance of dying within the next year than a 49-year-old, and a 51-year-old has a 10% greater chance than a 50-year-old, and so on up to at least 85 to 90 (after which more complicated things happen). But medical progress means that those actual probabilities are coming down with time. So, since we're 50 only a year after being 49, and so on, each of us has less than a 10% greater chance of dying at 50 than at 49 — it's 10% minus the amount that medical progress has achieved for 50-year-olds in the year that we were 49. Thus, if we get to the point where we're bringing down the risk of death at each age faster than 10% per year, people will be enjoying a progressively diminishing risk of death in the next year (or, equivalently, a progressively increasing remaining life expectancy) as time passes. That's what I call "escape velocity", and I think it's fair to call it the point where aging is effectively cured.

I'm fifty-two, so naturally I'm interested in this sort of thing, and inevitably I must wonder whether I have the twenty or thirty years left that de Grey says it will take to reach "escape velocity" at the current rate of advancement. I have to admit, I have my doubts: my father is not yet 80, and he's in an advanced state of deterioration, and to the extent that his characteristics are becoming my char