I misstated the projected research cost of Aubrey de Grey's Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) in a recent post. If we take a look at a breakdown of the proposed "Manhattan Project" to prototype all the technologies needed for radical life extension in mice and an interview at the Longevity Meme:
The type of work I hope the prize will encourage is late-onset interventions to repair or obviate accumulated molecular and cellular changes in already aged mice. This is the sort of research that is most relevant for human use. The seven treatments I mentioned earlier should, in combination, allow us to take two-year-old mice with a normal life expectancy of three years and make them live at least three more healthy years. This would certainly be something!
This goal should be possible within about 10 years with adequate funding, which I estimate at no more than US$100 million per year. Unlike the numbers for humans, I'm confident of this 10-year prediction because there are no arbitrarily hard problems to solve. In the case of human healthy life extension, safety matters mean that there are unknown levels of difficulty associated with research, particularly where it relates to gene therapy.
To translate work in mice to work in humans might require as much as ten times this level of funding - an educated guess at best, however. Regulatory hurdles for medical technology are onerous, and things always turn out to be more complicated than first anticipated. Still, $10 billion is a great deal of money if used wisely, and there is every reason to think that the scientific community could achieve radical life extension in humans when funded to this level.