Why Aren't More Wealthy People Funding Aging Research?

Why aren't more wealthy people funding aging research? My answer is that wealth does not grant vision, but here is Aubrey de Grey on this topic: "Biogerontology is not your average scientific discipline. It is the study of a phenomenon that currently accounts for two-thirds of all deaths worldwide, and 90% of all deaths within the industrialized world. If measured in terms of suffering or of health care costs, the numbers are equally staggering. As several of my colleagues have noted over many decades, and with increasing energy since the turn of the millennium, the impact of even a modest degree of progress in postponing age-related diseases, as a result of intervening in their common cause (aging), would be immense. ... So why is everyone still oblivious to this disaster? Ultimately, I believe that the answer comes down to just one thing: a failure to appreciate who can potentially benefit from progress. The massive Achilles' heel of biomedical gerontology in terms of appeal to the wider world has always been its focus on lifelong interventions. Those in a position to influence the level of financial support for such work, therefore, are required to start from a position of disenfranchised altruism (since they are already too old to benefit from therapies that need to be begun in youth or earlier). That is a noble position, to be sure, but realistically it is not one that enjoys prolific favor from the public. In particular, it is not a promising target for philanthropy. But the regenerative approach changes all that - indeed, it abolishes it. The whole point of all regenerative medicine is to start with people who are already carrying a significant quantity of damage, which the intervention will then repair. As such, if it can be made to work, rejuvenation biotechnology has the capacity to deliver the substantial (exactly how substantial remains to be seen, but we won't know until we try) postponement of all the debilities that we most fear as we progress toward the age at which we expect our health to fail. And it can deliver it to people who are already in middle age or older by the time the therapies materialize."

Link: http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/11/21/why-arent-more-wealthy-people-funding-aging-research/


The reason wealthy philanthropists do not support longevity research is because the elites of the world enter a club known for population control. Insurance actuaries were briefed about epigenetics and the prospect of an anti-aging pill in the 1970s. Geriatric researchers said people would live exceptionally long in the not-too distant future. But then Time magazine said "we have birth control, but not age control." There was evidence a small molecule (butyrate) caused living organisms to live longer. They had an anti-aging molecule in mind. But it was all thrown under the bus. Insurance companies realized they would not be able to sell life insurance to people until they were too old to buy it. Some anti-Alzheimer's drugs actually hasten death. Even retirees themselves essentially line up at the Soylent Green factory willingly as they have taught to fear a long life over concerns they will run out of retirement funds and spend more years in a debilitated state.

A tribe in South America that inherently has a mutation in the IGF-1 (growth factor) gene should live long lives, but they only live ~40 years or so and tend to die of pedestrian and auto accidents. Why? Because they are commonly inebriated. It almost appears futile to develop an anti-aging pill. Only a few will embrace such an idea. The idea of tissue engineering, stem cell therapy and all would bankrupt already insolvent health plans. Only 10-cent cures need apply for the job of anti-aging pill.

Bill Sardi

Posted by: Bill Sardi at November 27th, 2011 6:10 PM
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