Beginning on October 1st and lasting though to the end of the year we'll be running our latest grassroots fundraiser to support the work of the SENS Research Foundation. This remains perhaps the only charitable organization in the world devoted to removing all the hurdles standing in the way of progress in rejuvenation research: halting and reversing all age-related disease by repairing the known common root causes. Most of this work involves funding and cultivating research programs in vital areas overlooked by the scientific mainstream, wherein a modest investment in capital, networking, and persuasion over a few years can get things moving. There is a well-oiled, massive infrastructure already in place that picks up and develops medical research that reaches a certain point of maturity and demonstrable results, and the principal challenge for potential rejuvenation therapies at the present time largely lies in reaching that point.
Help Us to Build a Matching Fund: $70,000 and Counting
This year, just as in 2014, we are preparing for the October fundraiser by building a matching fund. I kicked things off with a $25,000 contribution from Fight Aging! and called for people to match as much as they can. So far, Josh Triplett, Christophe and Dominique Cornuejols, and forever-healthy.org have stepped up to swell the fund to $70,000. Can you help us make this a bigger round number? All pledges are tax-deductible and go to fund SENS Research Foundation programs.
We Raise Funds to Start the Avalanche
We raise funds for rejuvenation research because our contributions make a difference, because no-one other than philanthropists funds very early-stage medical research, and because as little as a few tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars is enough to start the avalanche. You probably think of medicine as one of the most expensive undertakings in the world today. That's certainly true of bringing therapies from the lab into the clinic, when a single clinical trial can cost tens of millions of dollars, but the business of actually making the initial prototypes in the lab? The cost of that work is startlingly low in this age of biotechnology: a grad student with $10,000 to spend can do more today in a semester than an entire laboratory staff with a budget of millions could have achieved twenty years ago. Building the prototypes of tomorrow's therapies is something that is well within our means when we collaborate.
A Proven Method: In 2008 Philanthropic Funding for SENS Started an Avalanche
So this is a golden age for medicine, in which people of modest means, you and I, can fund the first proof of concept for a rejuvenation treatment based on repair of cellular and molecular damage. The SENS research programs themselves have been underway for long enough that we can already see the signs of success, modest funding and collaboration carried out years ago blossoming into an active development program with a large budget. Started in 2008, the SENS programs at the Methuselah Foundation and then at the SENS Research Foundation funded collaborative early stage work on mitochondrial repair technologies with the lab of Marison Corral-Debrinksi in Paris, moving that work into animal models and demonstrating success in repairing specific mitochondrial DNA mutations associated with the hereditary blindness condition LHON. This was far enough for other funding sources and collaborators to join in and reinforce this success.
By 2013 Gensight was founded to commercialize this technology, and today that company devotes tens of millions of dollars to finalizing and bringing to the clinic a SENS vision for mitochondrial repair technologies, with an initially limited application to cure inherited mitochondrial disease. Every advance in the state of the art hammered out by this well-funded effort can later be adapted for therapies capable of repairing the forms of mitochondrial mutation that contribute to degenerative aging. Gensight is building one of the robust technology platforms needed for near future rejuvenation treatments.
Those of us who made charitable contributions to the very limited SENS budget as it was all the way back in 2008 had a hand in setting this avalanche in motion. This is how the model works: support early research and the scientists performing that work sufficiently well, by donating to an organization that has great experience in doing just that, and a few years later the funding flowing into ongoing development will expand far beyond your contribution.
By Helping Now, You Start the Avalanches Leading into the Early 2020s
This is a long game we're playing here. By helping the Fight Aging! fundraiser for the SENS Research Foundation this year, you support and expand research programs that will lead to the Gensights of the 2020s, companies yet to exist whose backers will pour tens of millions of dollars into creating medical technologies needed for human rejuvenation therapies. Join us in helping to create the next stage in this journey towards a better world, one in which aging and all of its pains and frailties and medical conditions are banished to the history books.
Spread the Word!
Point a friend to the Fight Aging! FAQ. Tell someone you know about the SENS Research Foundation and what it is they do. Pass around one of this year's fundraising posters, or dare I ask, improve upon them. The grand tapestry of success is built of small choices to help, and all of us can choose to make a difference.