Most very early stage medical research is funded by philanthropy, even in labs that largely depend on grants from established institutional sources of funding. Obtaining public and other private funding is usually impossible until a researcher can provide a proof of concept, which is only the case after most of the high risk early stage work is accomplished. In larger labs this results in a juggling of funds from government and industry, trying to squeeze out enough time and money from existing projects to actually work on new things, and patching over the gap with philanthropic donations from supporters. Any group that is entirely focused on early stage work must rely almost entirely upon philanthropy, and thus have patrons with deep pockets. This is the case for the establishment of the Glenn Consortium laboratories, for example, and for the ongoing work of the SENS Research Foundation.
Philanthropist Jason Hope is a patron for SENS rejuvenation research aimed at repairing the cellular and molecular damage that is the root cause of aging. He funds ongoing work organized by the SENS Research Foundation and does more than most patrons to help publicize and explain the science involved:
When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In other words, what type of research is being done to prevent conditions like Alzheimer's disease and diabetes from happening in the first place? Enter people like Jason Hope, an Arizona-based Internet entrepreneur who's using his money and influence to advance anti-aging initiatives. Much of Hope's philanthropy efforts are concentrated on the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit formed in 2009 to tackle age-related disease head on. Since its inception, SENS has been a driving force in what's known as rejuvenation biotechnology. This line of research focuses specifically on addressing age-related disease.
Hope's involvement with SENS began in 2010, when he donated half a million dollars to the organization. Because of these funds, the group was able to establish its Cambridge SENS laboratory and implement new research initiatives. Since then, he's gone on to contribute over $1 million of his own money to the cause. "I'm invested in the SENS Research Foundation for a number of reasons. In simplest terms, I believe in their work and understand how essential it is in terms of advancing human medicine. It has the power to completely redefine the healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotech industries."
In addition to lending his financial support to SENS, Hope also plays an active role in the group's outreach efforts. According to Hope, rejuvenation biotechnologies represent the future of human health. This approach to anti-aging is geared less toward treating diseases, and more toward understanding prevention as a way to create a longer, better quality of life. Over time, normal metabolism gradually damages the body. This, in turn, leads to the ravaging diseases associated with old age. To combat this, the SENS approach specifically works to repair this kind of damage before the body develops deadly pathologies.