Then Why Not Compete For the Mprize?

A discussion over at the Immortality Institute examines a question I'd like to see considered more often. If the latest overhyped offering from the "anti-aging" marketplace - or more reputable outgrowth of mainstream aging research focused on enhancing healthy longevity through metabolic manipulation - is so great, how come no-one is employing it as a part of competing for the $4 million Mprize?

It seems that there are lots of supplements with putative age prevention, cancer prevention, AGEs prevention, and heart disease prevention qualities. My question is: If these supplements help then why doesn't someone try them on mice.....? It seems that the M-Prize winners won from a single faceted approach: Growth hormone knock out, CR, Positive Enviroment etc... I understand the scientific value of testing one specific strategy at a time, but if someone is actually trying to win the M-Prize why not combine things?


Why doesn't someone take all the things which are more likely to increase lifespan than decrease it, and get the mice to take/do it?

The simple fact of the matter is that nothing presently out there in the marketplace - and I'll go out on a limb and say in the pipeline for the next couple of years as well - is going to do any better for already aged mice than calorie restriction, the currently winning technique for the Rejuvenation Prize aspect of the Mprize. The folk selling their "anti-aging" products are well aware of this fact, and so no-one is going to expend the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and couple of years to compete. As a marketing strategy, it makes no sense. As Brian Wowk puts it:

Perhaps you don't appreciate that almost every supplement sold is at best preventative, and doesn't actually impact intrinsic aging. I think M-Prize seeks to stimulate more fundamental interventions than just postponement of disease.

On the other side of the fence, it isn't likely that any mainstream funding source for aging research will go for the "let's try it all at once" approach that is presently popular on the sidelines. It's very hard to pick out the sort of results that get you published from a study on multiple forms of intervention running concurrently. That doesn't mean it isn't worth trying, but rather that no-one has yet been convinced of the return on investment for doing so: if mouse experiments are run rigorously in a scientific environment, the cost is certainly in the low seven figures.

For all that, as the Mprize continues to grow in size and influence, I would like it to come to be seen as the baseline for credibility in longevity medicine that moves beyond the lab and into development and commercialization. If you have something that works to extend healthy longevity, you should be demonstrating as such by competing for the Mprize, or pointing to past studies that have been entered into the Mprize. If you can't do that, you're not really serious.

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