Change starts from the bottom up and the top down and meets in the oblivious-to-the-very-last middle. Make no mistake, however, the bottom up initiatives always start well in advance of any top-down efforts, and it is the individuals making up the grassroots of any young movement who do most of the hard work to create growth and success. Their job is to prototype, to take the risks, to forge the path on a shoestring, to spread the word: and eventually those at the top finally notice that there is something to see and put their weight behind the movement.
This is the past fifteen years of the rejuvenation research movement in a nutshell. We're doing pretty well, I think, though of course everyone is impatient for much faster progress. We can point to tens of millions of dollars in philanthropic funding, to dedicated research institutions like the SENS Research Foundation that are now a similar size to many mainstream labs in aging research, and to many online and offline communities whose members take seriously today's efforts to treat and control aging through medical science.
When the public view of of aging research and extending healthy life spans finally slips over into approval and support, so that they feel much the same way about it as they presently do about cancer research in the abstract, it will be a sudden thing. All those years of hammering at the door will suddenly turn into a landslide in which everyone agrees we were right all along. That point is growing close thanks to the advocates, donors, and other supporters of longevity science.
Here is a recent post from Maria Konovalenko; while I don't agree with the specific details of the types of research she tends to champion, I agree with the overall sentiment that it is the time for collaboration, work, and growth in the grassroots of biotechnology to match similar progress in other fields. Costs have fallen tremendously in the past five years, to the point at which biotech startups are blossoming, and open biotechnology and garage biotechnology can have a meaningful influence on the overall pace of development. The future here looks a lot like the recent past of software development. In less regulated parts of the world, that means medical biotech can also experience a renaissance, allowing dozens of distinct attempts to produce solutions for every problem, and may the best win.
Delivering 5-7 gene vectors simultaneously carrying longevity-associated genes into an old animal could prove to be quite beneficial, because similar approach already works. It is also clear that there are several experiments in the area of therapeutic cloning that should be done immediately. There are about 20 other research directions in the area of radical life extension.
Right now it has become obvious how to find the money for radical life extension. It's crowdfunding. 200-300 campaigns need to be created on various crowdfunding platforms on the topics of fighting aging and regenerative medicine. Of course, we may not be able to find the necessary amounts of money right away, but we will be able to delineate the scope of goals, most importantly not using just the general words, but particular scientists, labs and research plans.
Even by only preparing the campaigns we will influence the society by once again providing the proof of the possibility of significant life extension. Unfortunately, molecular biology is not part of an every day's person background. We will make people more educated, show them how diseases originate, progress, and how they relate to aging. We will also tell the people what can be done.
While working on the crowdfunding campaigns we will mobilize our supporters by giving them a concrete tool and a plan of action. Fighting aging crowdfunding will become a very powerful transhumanist organizational solution. In the end we will gather the money, implement our projects and win!
If you are interested in bringing this plan to live, let's collaborate. Every single project requires a manager, analyst, scientist, director, operator, a guy who owns a car and a guy who writes a lot about this on the Internet. There is work for everybody, so let's do this.