The online healthy life extension community came out in force in the past few weeks to vote up and discuss a proposed Amex Members Project focused on longevity science. It was a good calibration for what we can do at short notice when we put our minds to it - we pushed the project into the top 25 by vote count, and created a far larger and more interesting discussion than attended any of the other proposals.

Unfortunately, the punchline is that the Amex advisors punted on the longevity science in favor of other projects for the final 25. Not ready to hear the message perhaps, or looking for a different format in the project description, or carefully estimating the PR effects of A versus B - we'll never know. Via the Methuselah Foundation blog:

Thank you all for turning out to help vote this project into the top 25 by vote count, and leaving so many thoughtful comments - it goes to show just how large and engaged the pro-longevity community has become. We here at the Methuselah Foundation are very pleased with what we've seen in the past few weeks, and view the fantastic community response as another indicator that our efforts are worthwhile.

The real competition - developing medicine to produce engineered longevity - has only just begun. There will be many more initiatives in the years ahead, and many more chances to obtain significant funding.

Serious, long-haul fundraising reason isn't about opportunistically grabbing fruit from the tree - though no-one is going to turn it down when it does happen to show up. You can't depend upon the timetables of other growers. The hard work of fundraising is in setting the stage to grow and harvest your own trees, to culture and create the a backdrop that naturally leads to opportunities for seven-figure investments in progress.

Patient advocacy for research into engineered longevity and the repair of aging is a fundamental part of this process - and that's true at all levels. Whether you are talking about aging research with friends, writing blogs, debating with the scientific community, writing in the established media, or engaging with funding institutions directly, it all goes into creating a zeitgeist in which funding for engineered longevity research is just as expected and understood as funding for cancer science.

We're not there yet. But I've been watching this whole process for a good few years now, and we're a lot closer than we were even five years ago. We push and the wheel turns; we talk, and ever more people listen to what we have to say. The money for research is starting to flow. It's working - so we keep at it.


The irony of course for AMEX is that in years to come this will be thought of as a major missed opportunity. We missed out on the funding, but our grandchildren gained an excellent case study.

Posted by: ben at September 10th, 2008 2:31 AM

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