As you might know, the Methuselah Foundation volunteers are presently engaged in initiatives that attempt to broaden the pool of people who support engineered longevity. Those of us who are already enthusiastic about the idea of science to help us life much longer are comparatively rare outliers: we tend to understand how technology can change the world around us, and feel comfortable estimating the plausibility of future technologies based on present trends and capabilities. But most people live in the here and now: it's hard to persuade them that the future will be far different from what they see today. Yet these folk make up the majority of the population, and until we can persuade them to see things our way, the quest to extend the healthy human life span will remain a fringe interest. We need the enthusiasm and help of the masses to support the pace and breadth of progress we'd like to see.
One of the ways in which the Methuselah Foundation is approaching this problem is funding for cutting edge regenerative medicine, such as organ growth. These are more widely supported and understood technologies, and making the Foundation a player in this space will help to put the message of engineered longevity in front of more people, and in a way they are more likely to sympathize with and understand. This is the theory, in any case. But these are early days still for this strategy: by the looks of it, the Foundation is still building out the Foundation of connections, funding arrangements, and supporting organizations. Here is the latest announcement:
Methuselah Foundation, a medical non-profit dedicated to extending healthy human life, today announced that it has made an investment in Silverstone Solutions, Inc., a San Francisco-based innovator in life science computing. Silverstone is the leading provider of software that matches recipients and donors in Kidney Paired Donations (KPDs). With this infusion of funding, Methuselah Foundation and Silverstone Solutions will partner to create an online NewOrgan Registry that will connect the millions of people who could benefit from new organs by making their collective medical information available to clinical researchers and scientists. This funding further advances the strategy of the Methuselah Foundation to accelerate medical research that delivers fundamental technologies to extend healthy human life.
"The kidney matching capability of MatchMaker and the tissue printing capabilities of Organovo's tissue printer heralds the dawning of a whole new era in organ transplantation, regenerative medicine and in the not too distant future - the creation of whole new replacement organs from one's own cells," noted Gobel. "As a result, the Foundation's donors have made yet another significant contribution to save, extend and improve significant numbers of lives."
You should be able to speculate from here as to the future directions of this initiative; clearly the Foundation volunteers want to speed the development of tissue engineered organs, and feel that this is a good way to further the message that engineered longevity is within our grasp and worth supporting.