Health Extension and Science Funding

I mentioned the Health Extension group late last year. It is a Bay Area grassroots initiative associated with the technology startup community, with salons and presentations sponsored by the SENS Research Foundation (SRF) among others. California is home to a fair chunk of the US aging research community and related relevant science labs, and the SRF has their research center there in the Bay Area - so it's good to see that the technology community continues the evolution of its support for longevity science.

As an aside, it is interesting to speculate as why there is - and so far as I am aware, always has been - a strong undercurrent of support for engineered human longevity amongst those who work with software for a living, as well as other forms of engineer. From the viewpoint of someone immersed in the entrepreneurial technology startup community, medicine and the development of real, actual therapies to slow or reverse aging shows the promise of a massive market yet to exist, combined with a lazy, over-regulated incumbent industry that's alternating between making a hash of things or doing nothing to advance the state of the art. So it's an engineering problem, it's the classic industry in need of disruption, it's the brief pause before a massive revolution in medicine and biotech, and so forth. If you dwell in the space where technology and starting companies overlaps, it's not hard to see dollar signs and opportunities when it comes to longevity science. It's also not hard to see that regulation is preventing or destroying so much of what could be happening on this front - but that might be worked around via medical tourism and overseas commercial development. To get the research done first and worry about the rest later is a good motto.

In any case, I see that Health Extension is showing signs of moving in the logical direction of fundraising and assembling projects that might be crowdfunded, or punted in the direction of philanthropists, or otherwise brought into the confluence of money and intent. This no doubt mixes something of the Biocurious circuit, something of the fundraising for research projects carried out by Longecity in past years, the growing interest in longevity science found in the technology community, plus the face-to-face networking of the Bay Area folk, and the tendency for that community to spawn meaningful projects at a fair rate.

We shall see where it all goes, and I'm all for more people trying to get things done in this space. There is a massive opportunity ahead: figure out how to persuade sufficient funding to implement the SENS vision of rejuvenation therapies soon enough to extend our own lives in health and vigor. Or fail to achieve that end, and suffer and die a few short decades from now. Sooner or later a sizable minority of the members of exactly the sort of wealthy and active community that generates technology companies in the Bay Area will start to realize just how much it is in their self-interest to aggressively push on progress in rejuvenation biotechnology. All that takes is money - there are detailed plans waiting for the necessary research and development funding.


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