Nouveaux Russians seek immortality

Moscow: Wealthy Russians are seeking immortality by spending millions on rejuvenation, including controversial stem cell injections from aborted or miscarried foetuses.

Stem cells, which have the capability to regenerate any part of the body, are taken from the patient’s own fat layers under local anesthetic or from the discarded umbilical cord of babies. But the most potent stem cells are those from aborted or miscarried human foetuses and use of these is banned in most countries for ethical reasons.

But in Moscow the therapy is widely available with doctors charging $10,000-20,000 for the treatment.

Doctor Alexander Teplyashin, one of the most fashionable rejuvenation specialists, has two clinics in Moscow and on the elite Rublyovskoye Shosse and a long list of the rich who want to turn the clock back.

US magazine Forbes recently reported that Russia has the world’s second largest group of billionaires after the U.S. The personal income of 27 Russian citizens is above $1 billion and their total assets are $90.6 billion.

The third man on Forbes Russian rich list is Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate worth $5.5 billion. In a bid to put off the grim ripper he recently gave $120,000 for research into “the youth elixir” at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology of Moscow State University.

Professor Vladimir Skulachev, the Institute director and a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, received the money.

Ageing is a biological program where oxygen is the main killer of cells, said Skulachev. And any program can be turned off. The idea is to create a powerful antioxidant to protect the organism from destruction.

Russia’s oldest citizen is Pasikhat Dzhukavleva, a Chechen who turned 124.