I pointed out the LifeStar Project website yesterday at the Longevity Meme. This is the brand under which the Millard Foundation will invest in advancing the development of practical, working longevity medicine. The Foundation is a wealthy family concern under the control of a few people with a demonstrated interest in longevity science, and with the resources to get things done.
In short, this is another of the beneficial signs we advocates have been hoping would emerge sooner rather than later. A philanthropic organization drawing upon existing fair-sized resources and possessed of the will to use them in advancing the cause of human longevity through the most direct methods possible. From their website:
therapies are rapidly being developed, in labs all over the world, which, in combination, will be able to actually prevent age-related diseases and loss of functionality. The governments of the world are unprepared to answer this challenge, but potentially could be.
What is needed - and does not yet exist - is a concerted, focused, competent, and fully-funded effort to catalyze the coalescing of this work into the complete set of therapies and protocols that will prevent the occurence of these diseases.
The LifeStar World Health Initiative has been created to respond to this need. With the right approach, we believe this result can be produced within the next 10-15 years.
The Millard Foundation principals, and by extension the LifeStar Project, differ from other large Foundations interested in aging and longevity - such as the Glenn Foundation and the Ellison Foundation - by virtue of their strong support for the "repair the damage" viewpoint that informs the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Aging is exactly the results of an accumulation of biochemical damage acquired over time: we should be trying to directly repair that damage, not just slow down its accumulation by tinkering with genes and metabolism.
The resources backing the "repair the damage" viewpoint are growing steadily year by year in a variety of different ways. The successful fundraising of the Methuselah Foundation is one visible form of that growth, and convincing folk like the Millard family to direct their resources to this grand project is another. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from the LifeStar Foundation in the years ahead.