Fundraising Victory: $250,000 Raised for SENS Research

I'm pleased to announce that the 2015 Fight Aging! matching fundraiser to benefit the SENS Research Foundation has hit the funding goal. Three months ago Fight Aging!, Josh Triplett, Christophe and Dominique Cornuejols, Michael Greve of, and Stefan Richter collaborated to create a $125,000 matching fund for SENS donations. We challenged the community to meet that amount by the end of this year: every dollar donated to SENS rejuvenation research before December 31st would pull in a matching dollar from the fund. With that total hit here in the middle of December, we have collectively managed to channel $250,000 to the best and most promising research aimed at treating the causes of aging. A quarter of a million dollars can buy a fair amount of early stage research in the life sciences these days. The cost of the tools is falling even as their capabilities grow, and so this is a great time to support medical research. We can make a real difference.

It is important work that we fund with our donations. SENS research programs represent the best chance at significant progress towards rejuvenation therapies in our lifetimes, leading to a range of treatments that work by repairing or clearing the forms of fundamental cell and tissue damage that cause aging and age-related disease. In many cases, SENS-funded research is near the only meaningful work on such therapies, and in those areas SENS Research Foundation programs exist to remove roadblocks and thus enable broader participation and interest in the research community. SENS rejuvenation research has been funded at a low level for a little more than a decade now, long enough for the first results to be visible. In the past couple of years concrete progress has occurred in many of the relevant fields, the fruits of past philanthropic donations.

Most recently, this year saw an important piece of infrastructure technology produced in efforts to clear glucosepane cross-links, for example. In 2014 and 2015 researchers produced technology demonstrations for senescent cell clearance treatments, showing benefits to health in normal aged laboratory mice. A startup company was funded based on one of these technologies. In 2015 another startup, Human Rejuvenation Technologies, received a technology transfer from the SENS Research Foundation with the aim of producing a therapy for atherosclerosis based on programs for clearance of intracellular aggregates. In addition, the first promising trial results in human patients arrived for a treatment that clears transthyretin amyloid from old tissues. Further, methods of repairing mitochondrial DNA damage funded in part by the SENS Research Foundation have moved beyond the laboratory and have been under commercial development since 2013.

The SENS supporters of past years have good reason to be pleased with what has been achieved with their charitable donations, a significant increase in progress towards the tools needed to bring aging under medical control. The SENS Research Foundation and its allies have achieved more than just technological progress, however. Moving forward in the production of medical technology to treat aging has always been as much about persuasion as about research, a matter of having to convince the world that yes, this is possible, plausible, and necessary. People are largely blind when it comes to the costs and suffering caused by aging, and even as recently as a decade ago the medical research community was a hostile environment for anyone who thought to talk openly about treating the causes of aging - to do so was to risk funding and career. This has changed in large part thanks to the efforts of advocates such as the SENS Research Foundation staff, past and present. The present culture of aging research is one in which people debate openly over how best to treat aging; this is a very big deal, and another reason for long-time supporters of the SENS Research Foundation to be pleased at how much has been achieved to date.