The NewOrgan Prize at the Methuselah Foundation

If you head over to the Methuselah Foundation or Mprize, you'll see that a new research prize has been announced:

In April 2010 Methuselah Foundation challenges researchers: Find the solution to organ failure. We seek, support and reward science that extends healthy lifespan. And we believe a permanent solution to organ failure can be found. That's why we are announcing two initiatives:

1) NewOrgan Prize: Prizes result in amazing leaps forward in science; we challenge scientists to construct and successfully transplant a whole new organ made from a patient's own cells by 2020.

2) NewOrgan Network: A social community, powered by our partner My Bridge 4 Life, where those in need of replacement organs can reach out to friends and family for personal support.

This follows on from the recently announced funding for a NewOrgan registry, and shows that the Foundation leadership are very interested in establishing their presence and making a difference in the field of tissue engineering and organ regrowth:

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.

Research prizes work well, and the NewOrgan Prize should help to bring forward the day on which a heart or other vital organ can be built from scratch, from your own cells, and provided as a replacement for an age-damaged organ.

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