In October we'll be kicking off a grassroots fundraiser to support SENS research programs, work that is aimed at removing the technical roadblocks preventing greater funding and interest in rejuvenation research. At present we are raising a matching fund for that fundraiser, and are seeking matching fund founders. As you can see from the title, we have met with some success - but I think we can do better yet. So help us out here. Join in and push this matching fund to a nice round number at the very least. Here are the folk who have donated so far:
- Christophe and Dominique Cornuejols
- David Gobel (Methuselah Foundation)
- Dennis Towne
- Håkon Karlsen
- Jason Hope
- Michael Achey
- Michael Cooper
- Reason (Fight Aging!)
From Håkon Karlsen:
Aging will be cured at some point in time. Of that there is little doubt. Until it is cured, however, a hundred thousand lives are being lost every single day, due to aging. That's more than 35 million people in a year. Nothing even comes close to killing as many people. Curing aging may thus help billions of people avoid the many years of suffering and pain that the age related diseases often cause. Let's try to cure aging now, it might just save (or, at least, greatly improve) your life, or the life of someone you care about. Please consider making a donation to the SENS Research Foundation.
From Michael Achey:
As a primary care physician, I watch the effects of aging every day. In practice for 27 years I have observed many a healthy, hearty, happy person gradually falter physically, dwindle mentally, and give up socially. Many of the diseases responsible for the senescence and death of us folks will be solved in the process of understanding causes of aging. From a strictly selfish standpoint (me and my kids) and a global perspective, I look forward to a day when a human body can live a couple hundred or more years to travel "Where No Man Has Gone Before!"
What is rejuvenation research? By rejuvenation here I mean repair and reversal of the underlying causes of aging: the various forms of cellular and molecular damage that accumulate over time in your tissues, disrupting function, and spawning all sorts of further forms of harm and dysfunction. Like rust in complex metal structures, the many varied failures suffered by old people result from what are comparatively simple root causes.
A great deal is known about these causes of aging, despite the fact that the scientific community argues incessantly over which are more important and how exactly they relate to specific age-related diseases. We can talk in detail about mitochondrial DNA damage, accumulation of senescent cells, build up of misfolded proteins called amyloids between cells and metabolic waste called lipofuscin within cells, harmful cross-links that gum together important proteins, and so forth. For all these forms of damage there exist research plans that lead to plausible treatments. In most cases there is a trickle of progress towards establishing these solutions, ways to reverse damage accumulation and remove the harm that has been done already in old people. That trickle must become a flood if we are to see significant progress towards reversal of aging and defeat of age-related disease in our lifetimes. The first prospective treatments don't even have to fix everything - they just have to fix most of the harm in every category. We go through life in our thirties to our fifties with a fair level of damage, but comparatively low mortality rates: there is a threshold past which things spiral downwards, and for so long as we can maintain ourselves beneath that threshold of damage then we are set for a long term of health and vigor without pain or suffering or disability.
This is why it is important to raise funds for well-run organizations like the SENS Research Foundation, groups that are in a position to remove the roadblock that prevents the small amount of research today from becoming a large amount of research tomorrow. Invariably there is a tipping point in any line of research: before the point is reached every for-profit investor and institutional research fund will look for something else that is further along, with less risk. After the tipping point, the early pioneers are quickly buried and forgotten beneath a torrent of funding and mainstream research interest. Our job is to move SENS rejuvenation research to the tipping point: fund the work that builds the toolkits, the proofs of concept, the initial databases, and all the other comparatively simple, low cost items that are yet pending. We want to be buried in interest: bring it on. Biotechnology is cheap these days; a smart young researcher can undertake significant cutting edge prototype work in medical research in six months and for a few tens of thousands of dollars given an established lab to work in.
What is the greatest difference you can make in the world? To my eyes it is saving as many lives and preventing as much pain as possible. Aging and the death and suffering it causes is the worst thing we suffer, and far more should be done to stop it than is present being accomplished. If you agree with me on this point, then step up and help to do something about it! Make the world a better place in one of the few ways that will touch everyone.