As you no doubt know by now, the Immortality Institute is raising $8000 in public donations that will then be matched up to $16,000, that money going towards the validation of laser ablation of lipofuscin as a longevity therapy. From the project and donation page:
This research proposes to further study the use of laser pulses to destroy lipofuscin. The technical term for this approach is Selective Photothermolysis. LEDs, lasers, and infrared light have already found their way into many clinical and cosmetic applications. This research will investigate the use of laser pulses to improve human health at a much more fundamental level.
Mr. Schooler has conducted preliminary qualitative research using laser pulses to destroy lipofuscin in nematodes (round worms). VIDEO HERE. This investigation was the subject of a presentation at the UABBA conference at UCLA in 2008. The current proposed research will use various pulsed laser treatments to investigate the effects on worm lifespan. Human cell culture models will also be used to investigate the dynamics of lipofuscin destruction microscopically in actual human cells.
Lipofucsin is an aggregate of many different biochemical byproducts that builds up in your longest-lived cells, leading to dysfunction and disease. Lipofuscin levels are a very straightforward difference between old and young people, and removing it at regular intervals should have a noticeable impact on age-related degeneration. This is in fact an aspect of one of the seven avenues of Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) research - removing damaging aggregates from the body.
I will say that the Immortality Institute folk are doing a fine job of grassroots fundraising in what is a terrible economic climate for any sort of non-profit activity, but they have a way to go yet for their target and the deadline for the fundraising initiative is Monday 17th. So if any of you reading this have stopped to think in recent years that research isn't moving fast enough for your liking, then why not jump in and donate a few dollars? Things only happen when you make them happen.
The present donation matching offered by generous folk in the Institute forums amounts to a sixfold multiplication of your money: donate $30 and $180 will go to support this research project. As I explained the last time I mentioned this initiative, this is an excellent example of a high-impact, low-cost, short-term project that can open many doors if successful.
Validating the use of lasers as an approach to remove the buildup of lipofuscin in our cells and thereby help long-term health and longevity won't cost much - a few tens of thousands of dollars. So give a little of your spare change to help move this research to its conclusion: it's a good bet, and supporting this per-project grassroots methodology of funding biotechnology research is also a good bet. If this one is well funded, we'll be seeing more diverse SENS research projects put forward and funded by the community in the future.