Back in the day, prior to the foundation of the SENS Research Foundation, the SENS rejuvenation research programs were first organized and funded under the auspices of the Methuselah Foundation. At the same time the Foundation also launched and promoted the Mprize for longevity science: a research prize that continues to this day in order to encourage and reward scientists who demonstrate improved degrees of healthy life extension in mice. A lot has changed since then - a great deal of progress in advocacy, and large shifts in the culture of the scientific community when it comes to research into aging and longevity, a lot of that spurred by the activities of the Methuselah Foundation.
At the present time the Methuselah Foundation focuses on speeding up tissue engineering of whole organs via the New Organ initiative, but also funds and coordinates a range of other projects - as well as remaining an influence behind the scenes in the course of the research and advocacy community. This arrived in my in-box today from the Foundation staff:
Methuselah in 2013
Thanks to you, we had a fantastic year at the Methuselah Foundation. On December 5th, we officially launched the New Organ Liver Prize at the World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS) in San Diego, and we're actively seeking title sponsorship to help us increase the $1 million prize purse. Last year, we kicked off a new partnership with Organovo to get 3D bioprinters into key labs at universities involved in regenerative medicine research. We also awarded several new grants, one to study the longevity of bowhead whales and another for research on personalized gene sequencing to improve chemotherapy treatment.
The First New Organ Prize
Many thanks to Bernie Siegel and the WSCS for hosting our launch of the $1 million New Organ Liver Prize, a five-year international competition to advance the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. With gratitude to our generous donors, our invaluable board of advisors, and our prize development partners at the Institute of Competition Sciences, we're thrilled to be underway and currently sourcing teams to compete for the prize.
All the details on prize rules, team registration, partnerships, and more are now available at our brand new website. We'd love to hear what you think! You can also check out some recent media coverage on Popular Science and NBC News.
"New Parts for People"
At the WSCS in December, Methuselah CEO David Gobel gave a rousing plenary talk on the origins of New Organ. "Here's why we have the New Organ Liver Prize," Gobel said. "It seems to me species insanity that we would spend $200,000+ to restore a car like a Shelby Cobra, and yet all that car's creator Carroll Shelby could get were junkyard parts. His heart came from a dead person - it wasn't new. His kidney came from his wonderful son, but it wasn't new. And it didn't fit. None of these parts fit."
Silverstone Merges with BiologixTx
Thanks to the support of Methuselah Foundation donors, Silverstone Matchmaker was able to take the kidney matching software it had developed for use in isolated Local Area Networks and transition it into the cloud, enabling an integrated network of hospitals to begin coordinating transplants through the platform. Now, as of November 2013, Silverstone has entered into an agreement with BiologicTx to further advance its distribution and development.
"The acquisition of Silverstone Solutions, combined with the addition of David Jacobs to the BiologicTx team, advances our commitment to Kidney Paired Donation and greatly expands our innovative technology platform immediately and in the future," said Darrin Carrico, President and Co-Founder of BiologicTx.
Last year alone, 61 lives were saved through Matchmaker-enabled paired kidney donations. We look forward to Silverstone's continued success and are grateful to our supporters for helping to make it possible.
Looking Ahead to 2014
We've got a lot planned for 2014, including the announcement of the first round of research teams planning to compete for the New Organ Liver Prize. Stay tuned also for news of our next New Organ Prize, an organ preservation competition currently in development with the Organ Preservation Alliance incubated by Singularity University Labs in Silicon Valley.
This year, we're also looking to finalize placements of 3D tissue printers in university research labs, so if you're involved in a project that would benefit from an Organovo printer, please let us know ASAP! Send a brief executive summary describing how you would use the printer to generate advances in organ engineering to firstname.lastname@example.org. Special consideration is being given to microvascular engineering to enable macro tissues in 3D.
Our New Website
In conjunction with our launch of the New Organ Liver Prize, we recently overhauled our main website, and we're proud of the results. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do! We'd love to know what you think.