Here I'll point out a aging research crowdfunding project at Experiment, focused on carrying out a small project in developing functional metrics of age to help evaluate treatments that might affect the pace or state of aging. The longevity science community has undertaken a growing number of crowdfunding efforts, and I think that this trend is important in the bigger picture of how to make crowdfunding work for scientific research on all scales and for all fields. That part of the community I'm involved with hasn't made much use of Experiment as a platform because it is focused on supporting very small projects, well under $10,000, while we tend to aim to raise much more than that per fundraiser, each supporting a larger discrete project. So it is good to see some inroads here.
In a better world than ours, a stronger scientific community would see every laboratory pulling in additional funds via crowdfunding. In doing so researchers would develop a community of supporters and a better relationship with the broader public, creating a greater understanding of what it is they do in their investigations and the potential of their work. Today next to no-one thinks about or cares about medical research until it is too late, and that has a lot to do with the sparse nature of funding for progress in medicine, I'd say. Changing this state of affairs would bring great benefits. There is also this: traditional philanthropy occupies a very important role in the modern institution of science, as other sources of funding almost never put resources towards the high-risk, early stage, radical new approaches that actually create discoveries. They are only willing to devote funds after the prototypes and proofs exist - which somewhat misses the point of what science is all about and how progress in science and technology happens at the sharp end. Nonetheless, it is what it is, and philanthropic funding is the engine that creates discovery. Opening that up to the public at large can only help.
Harvard Medical School has reported successful aging reversal using genetic and biochemical methods in the labs of Dr. George Church and Dr. David Sinclair. The Church Lab has encouraged us to build a new updated functional test of age. The test will measure functional biomarkers of the lab's subjects compared to their sequenced genomes and of clinical trial subjects elsewhere, estimating the age at which a person physically functions, enabling researchers to validate measurements from genetic and biochemical aging interventions and reliably compare results across subjects, studies and approaches. Our research will determine which biomarkers provide reliable indications of aging level and which test technologies can reliably measure the biomarkers at reasonable cost.
Now that institutions have succeeded in genetically reversing aging in laboratory samples of human cells and biochemically in live mice, we are developing a new system for measuring functional age in order to validate those results in people. Already, there are people whose genetics or lifestyle cause them to age more slowly or faster. Therefore, we already have experience measuring differences in levels of aging, for example tests taken using the H-SCAN function age test developed in 1990. We are developing a successor to that test. We will determine suitable functional age biomarkers and test technology via research and expert advice from Church, Sinclair and others. We will compare that data to the H-SCAN Test's 12 biomarkers and hardware.
Our goal is preparation of a device requirements document that an engineer can use to create a design for the test prototype. The document will contain a list of the functional aging biomarkers to be tested, the range of values to be tested, how each biomarker declines with age, why each biomarker was selected, specifications and sources of testing instruments for each biomarker, integration of the instruments in the device, sequence of tests, and requirements for user interface, software calculations, regulatory agencies, exterior design, connectivity, data security, and installation.