The Major Mouse Testing Program is a non-profit initiative setting up to run life span studies for potential age-slowing treatments that the rest of the research community isn't going to get to any time soon. The gold standard of life span studies are those carried out by the Interventions Testing Program at the NIA, but that group is poorly funded, slow, and conservative in their choices. The ITP staff won't be testing senolytic drug candidates or combinations of everything shown to modestly slow aging in mice any time soon, for example. So there is room for others to cut to the chase:
The field of regenerative medicine is becoming increasingly important for the future of healthcare and even how we view aging. With stem cell technology, gene therapy and other longevity technology on the horizon humanity can finally consider living longer, healthier lives. Some drugs already tested have been found to increase mouse lifespan such as metformin and rapamycin. These drugs are even now moving into human clinical trials to see if the above benefits translate into people. However, there are many more promising substances that have never been properly tested and we do not know if they could extend healthy lifespan. How fast science advances depends on how much quality research is being conducted. Currently there are few high impact studies investigating lifespan initiated each year and with so many promising substances to test this is all a painfully slow process. The Major Mouse Testing Project (MMTP) is aiming to help by rapidly testing compounds and speeding up progress.
A significant problem with longevity research and testing in the past has been a lack of robust results. Small animal cohorts and questionable husbandry, combined with poor metrics or protocols, have lead to inconsistent or even conflicting results. In a field as poorly funded as longevity research currently is, we cannot afford to waste money and effort on flawed experiments that do not provide solid evidence of efficacy and high potential for human clinical trials. The Major mouse testing program is working to redress this situation with the help of an international team of dedicated researchers. We hope to deliver the kind of consistent and quality data required to provide definite confirmation of longevity interventions. We plan to initiate large scale testing on already aged mice - the approximate equivalent of a human aged sixty. This means we can produce consistent, accurate and notably faster results to drive progress.
It is also plausible that some interventions, when combined, could have a synergy where the effects are greater than the individual compounds, such as the case with dasatinib and quercetin for the clearance of senescent cells. It is possible there are more synergies to be discovered and this is where the MMTP plans to push forward, not only testing single interventions but also in testing combinations to seek out these powerful synergies. Our researchers are working on a practical solution to test these combinations and at the same time hope to provide the kind of accurate data science demands to prove efficacy.