The SENS Foundation, a non-profit focused on both the development of rejuvenation biotechnology capable of reversing aging and establishing a larger research community to achieve that goal more effectively, has released their 2011 annual report (PDF).
It's with great pleasure that I announce the release of our Annual Report for 2011. The report includes updates on all of our research projects, both at the Research Center in Mountain View, and at leading universities and institutions around the world. It reviews the success of SENS 5 and the expansion of our Academic Initiative, and summarises our financial situation through 2011. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed assembling it!
Some highlights from the PDF:
You might say that the past three years have been SENS Foundation's 'Mercury project' - our proof-of-concept phase - during which we've worked to establish the feasibility of our line of inquiry through our research, education, and outreach programs. And in this we have been successful. The Thiel Foundation's substantial and continued funding has been met both with broader-based support and more key individual backers. Edward James Olmos has volunteered to lend his voice to our message. Jason Hope's philanthropic gift has launched our glucosepane research program at Cambridge and Yale Universities. We've worked hard to build new collaborations and outreach opportunities, and 2012 will show a significant research project in every major category of damage in the SENS technological proposal.
What has changed [in the SENS Foundation messaging] is the fact that we now have specific research, details, and ongoing proof-of-concept work to discuss. SENS Foundation has matured as an organization. We have moved well beyond the point of needing to defend the SENS platform as worth testing out in the laboratory; we have won that battle. Instead, we are discussing how SENS Foundation can best go about its work of building an industry and creating a comprehensive, practical suite of rejuvenation biotechnologies. And so, I no longer discuss and emphasize what the future might hold. Rather, I discuss and emphasize what is going on right now at the SENS Foundation Research Center in Mountain View, California, and in Foundation-funded laboratories across the world.
We are delighted that SENS Foundation was able to make expenditures of $1,518,000 in 2011. This was an increase of over $400,000 from 2010, overwhelmingly in support of direct research and conference projects. ... We greatly appreciate the support of the many individuals who contributed to our mission. We would like to thank Peter Thiel, Jason Hope, the Methuselah Foundation, and all of our contributors and volunteers for their on-going generosity. We expect a significant increase in both revenues and expenses for 2012, as we begin to see distributions from a de Grey family trust, under a grant from SENSF-UK. This support will be in addition to the contributions we receive from other sources.
That last part there - very admirable. Would that we were all so dedicated.
By way of comparison with the 2010 report showed a $1 million budget or so for that year, about a third of which went to LysoSENS research - working on the foundation of a biomedical remediation strategy that could use bacterial enzymes to safely break down the age-related build up of harmful aggregates in the body. That build up is one of the fundamental causes of aging, but suitable biotechnologies such as biomedical remedication can and should be developed to address it. A successful technology platform for therapies will allow for both extension of healthy life span and restoration of health to those who are already damaged and suffering.
It has to be said, I'm pleased to see work on finding a safe agent to break down glucosepane moving forward. The lack of significant progress anywhere in the world on AGE breakers targeting the most common AGE - glucosepane - over the past decade has been enormously frustrating. It is one of the few areas of SENS in which the traditional and massive drug development industry is perfectly suited to the task. It may as well have had a big red target painted on it given the size of the market for a working drug that actually, legitimately, literally reversed skin aging - amongst other important body parts such as blood vessels - and yet nothing much has happened.
The world needs another ten SENS Foundations, collectively kicking the rest of the research community in the pants, demanding to know why the important work isn't being accomplished, and then making those big-budget groups look bad by creating real progress in biotechnology on a shoestring budget.