Anti-ageing drugs could mean working into your 80s

UK workers will face a retirement age of 85 by 2050, as novel anti-ageing therapies trigger a sharp rise in life expectancy, scientists have claimed.

Researchers in California believe new drugs capable of slowing the ageing process will start to become available in rich countries in 2010. This, they predict, will increase lifespan by 20 years within the following two decades, suggesting that living to 100 years old will become commonplace.

The new drugs will focus on reducing other harmful processes that bring about the cellular wear and tear of ageing. This will lead to a sudden leap in lifespan, according to Shripad Tuljapurkar, an expert in population studies at Stanford University in California.

In the UK today there are 1.5 pensioners for every five workers, but Tuljapurkar’s calculations suggest that by 2050 the figure could rise to four pensioners for every five workers.

“If that happens, people are going to have to work to the age of 85,” he said.

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