Scientists at Hackney University say it may now be possible to live forever.
Remarkable research, published this week, will show that by inhaling air into the lungs, it may be possible to maintain life.
Team leader Dr Margaret Dung, who led the discovery, believes the results could be the missing link in modern medicine.
She said: "We're trying not to get too excited. But it would seem that if we can harness enough air in our lungs, we can prolong human existence."
Chief Medical Officer Prof Ian Botherer called Dung's work an "unparalled achievement" and declared: "The days of death are over. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world, not as pygmies but as immortals."
Others though were not convinced.
Dr Mike Bod of Birmingham's Polytechnic said: "The research is flawed. If breathing was all it took to keep one alive, we would all be doing it."
Not everyone shares Bod's view. Health Secretary Bill
Haley-Johnson has pledged a further £45 million to continue the studies.