Supercentenarians are persons who have lived beyond the age of 110. Currently there are only about 80 such known individuals in the world whose age is verified. The world record holder is Jeanne Calment, who survived until age 122. Amyloidosis is a disease state hallmarked by the deposition of fibers of abnormally clumped masses of the protein ransthyretin, which normally acts to carry thyroid and other hormones. Mutations in the gene make the fibers abnormally sticky and they tend to clump into long fibers that are deposited in multiple organs.
These persons have already escaped the typical causes of death, but the normally innocuous amounts of amyloid that increase with age may actually become toxic to them because they have lived so many years. However, experimental drugs (such as Tapamidis meglumine, approved in Europe under the trade name Vyndaqel) exist that may eliminate amyloid. These drugs are being studied for young persons with pathological amyloidosis. Could they become the first drugs to extend human lifespan beyond current theoretical limits?