This September-October issue sees the launch of a new series of articles on population ageing in its social, economic and physiological aspects. In this piece, Jean-Pierre Henry looks at the physiological dimension, asking the question that has preoccupied humanity since the dawn of time: is there a cure for ageing? Though humans have over time lived to an ever greater age, the fact is that we seem to have reached a plateau and, moreover, this increased life expectancy doesn’t always equate to a life lived in good health. Advancing age is often accompanied by pathologies of various levels of seriousness, largely linked to cell ageing. Yet, as Jean-Pierre Henry shows here, scientists have made great advances in their knowledge and understanding of ageing processes and, without claiming to be ushering men and women towards immortality, they have opened up a path to possible mechanisms for cell rejuvenation, which is itself capable of reducing the risks of age-related pathologies. This article proposes an update on the advances in the research on cell ageing, particularly epigenetics, and indicates the ensuing prospects for (but also the remaining limits on) slowing or even curing the ageing process.