Fundraising Update: A Third of the Way

The Fight Aging! 2014 fundraiser to benefit the work of the SENS Research Foundation launched a month ago and will run for another two months - until the end of the year. Until the end of December a $100,000 matching fund waits to be drawn down by your donations: for every $1 given to the Foundation to help expand their rejuvenation research programs, $2 is drawn from the fund. So donate!

Why give to support the Foundation? The SENS Research Foundation funds research programs to produce the basic technologies required to build rejuvenation therapies, treatments that will be capable of repairing the various forms of cellular and molecular damage that cause age-related frailty, disease, and death. Some of this research already takes place in the mainstream, such as in the cancer and stem cell research communities, but these are only a few of the many lines of work needed to produce a working rejuvenation toolkit and the clinical community to support it. Despite great progress in biotechnology over the past decade, and despite a good understanding of the goals and the damage that must be repaired, that other research is still largely languishing. The SENS Research Foundation is perhaps the only organization in the world that is wholly focused on speeding all of these necessary threads by funding research groups and laboratories.

Stem cell based regenerative therapies and even a partial cure for most cancers alone will not greatly extend our lives, even though they provide significant improvements over the present state of affairs for people suffering age-related disease. Aging is caused by other processes as well, and if one doesn't get you then one of the others will. To help the old and to help prevent ourselves from suffering in same way as today's old people the research community must also tackle other important issues in the aging body and brain: metabolic waste products building up inside and around cells; growing levels of mitochondrial DNA damage; immune system dysfunction; and senescent cell accumulation. All of these produce eventually fatal medical conditions on roughly the same timescales, and thus removing frailty and disease from aging will require progress on all of these fronts.

As noted, however, far too little work takes place on most of these projects. That is why our assistance is so important; that is why we must have fundraisers and philanthropy and advocacy. The work funded and encouraged by the SENS Research Foundation represents the future, and the SENS vision of repair of the causes of aging is to my eyes the only viable replacement for the present day collection of poor strategies for tackling aging in medicine. There can and should be more than just palliative care, or attempts to slightly slow down aging, or the same old-style drug discovery programs attempting to do more good than harm for people in the very end stages of aging. The near future can and should be one of targeted, designed treatments that zero in on the known forms of cellular and molecular damage that cause aging. The more support we can provide to organizations like the SENS Research Foundation, the faster this future will arrive, and the better all of our lives will be as a result.

We're now a third of the way through our 2014 fundraiser and over the last month more than 300 people from the community have generously stepped up to provide more than $16,000 dollars of the $50,000 target. If you're on the fence, consider this: you'll probably spend more than most of these folk gave on coffee and cake this coming month, and what is that going to do for your future prospects? So invest a little in the rest of your life, in making the future a place you'd like to live in, I'd say. Small actions taken now will snowball, and make large differences down the line.

Comments

This comment is only tangentally related to the SENS 2014 fundraiser, but I saw this post mentioned on the nextbigfuture.com blog yesterday - how to crowdfund research for rare cancers:

http://mosaicscience.com/story/plutocratic-proposal

It got me thinking that it was a shame that the 100,000 $20 million and above millionaires in the world will only become focused on research into a rare form of cancer when they or their loved ones become sick with it. But that is just human nature. There is an astonishing example of John London, someone with some serious money behind him, getting Nancy Pelosi, the then leader of the US house of representatives, to call a US company, Neotropix Inc, to try and get his four year old daughter access to their phase 1 oncolytic virus.

That got me thinking. I saw the Labcures video for Judith Campisi's lab where they talked about how they think survivors of childhood cancer are prematurely aged by the chemotherapy which generates higher than normal numbers of senescent cells. Maybe there is some way to get Judith's research into small molecules that can kill senescent cells linked to any of these cancer research projects that get funded? If someone has the means to get the leader of US house of representatives to make calls and twist arms on their behalf, they'd probably also pay for some research to ensure that if their daughter survives due to oncolytic viral therapy, she won't then start experiencing some of the diseases of aging that a 60 year old typically experiences at the age of 20 due to the failed chemotherapy that she has already tried.

Here are the Telegraph articles that kicked all this off. The first Telegraph article that got the ball rolling on this idea:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9508895/A-virus-that-kills-cancer-the-cure-thats-waiting-in-the-coldc.html

A response article in the Telegraph 2 weeks after the first article by Dominic Nutt:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9544400/Would-I-takean-untested-cancer-treatment-myself-Hellyes.html

The third Telegraph article detailing how the 2 million dollars to fund the research was raised:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/10120853/Is-it-time-for-the-public-to-start-funding-cancer-research.html

Posted by: Jim at November 3rd, 2014 9:05 PM

Good! I just donated last week. Let's surpass the $50,000 mark!

Posted by: Antonio at November 4th, 2014 1:48 AM

I think Jim makes a good point in that Scientists are not the best at selling their ideas. Labcures is a very well intentioned site but it definitely needs more marketing and more labs.

Posted by: Michael-2 at November 4th, 2014 4:25 AM

Further to Jim's comment it's only about 20 to 40 people with 1 million dollars to fund SENS properly. Even 10 people would make SENS in a far better position than it is today. The only millionaires who seems to appreciate this is Aubrey de Grey and Peter Thiel, it's a real shame.

Posted by: Michael-2 at November 5th, 2014 7:34 AM

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