I noted the existence of the Open Longevity initiative earlier this month. This is an evolution of the core Russian-language longevity science community, involved in the Science for Life Extension Foundation and related advocacy initiatives. The members of that community have been building bridges to the European and US longevity science communities for a decade now, aided by progress in automated translation technologies and the growing prospects for therapies that can meaningful treat the causes of aging. Collectively, we've reached the point at which meaningful treatments are almost at the clinic; it is the time to move beyond talking to helping ensure that these treatments enter trials and become available as soon as possible.
Open Longevity is explicitly structured as an organization of patients, for patients: people who want to treat aging as the medical condition it is, and are willing to organize and participate in medical trials to push forward the state of the art. The present sad situation in medical regulation and the mainstream aging research community is that near all efforts that could be achieved now, this year, if people just went out and did the work, will never happen. No-one will test combinations of the non-chemotherapeutic senolytic drugs; no-one will try building a better polypill for reducing cardiovascular disease; and so on. Within the commercial and regulatory arena, the best that can be hoped for is narrow trials of a single drug candidate for the late stage of age-related disease, which is the goal that UNITY Biotechnology is aiming for with their senolytic treatments.
It is self-evident that better results than this can be achieved by ignoring the FDA and its Western European counterparts, given a bunch of people willing to put in the work and some funding, and who are sufficiently well organized to avoid the pitfalls of self-delusion that tend to beset more amateur citizen science efforts in medicine. Setting up responsible, transparent trials of treatments isn't rocket science, just hard work, and it certainly isn't something that only government organizations can achieve. I'm fairly certain that our broader community is capable of generating such an effort, I hope to see it happen in the years ahead in the matter of senolytic therapies, and indeed, I've written on this topic in past years.
The Open Longevity volunteers look like they are heading in the right sort of direction, for all that they are starting out with potential treatments that I'm not much in favor of spending time on - the standard panoply of calorie restriction mimetics and the like. Taking an incremental approach seems sensible, however, and it is developing the ability to organize and produce unbiased results that is important here, not the particular therapies used as the initial testbeds. Our community and the companies working on therapies have a great need for one or more organizations that can reliably deliver trials and medical tourism outside the present regulatory system as a service, and such an organization would help to greatly speed up progress towards widespread availability of the first rejuvenation therapies. On this note, the following turned up in my in-box earlier this week:
Starting on March 29th in Kotor, Montenegro, the first Longevity School is being held, organized by the patients' organization Open Longevity. The purpose of our organization is to carry out clinical trials of therapies against aging. We are determined to create the best possible therapies based on all achievements of science and considering individual approach. Recently we've started to organize clinical trials of a new type, based on the principles of openness, with a non-commercial approach, and aiming for continuous improvement of the effectiveness of interventions under trial. We believe that by not focusing on opportunities to capitalize the cure for old age, and by immediately publishing the results of clinical experiments, we will achieve a higher level of expertise. The protection of scientific advances by patents and trial data by secrecy leads to a lack of exploration of the potential reuse of existing therapies for new purposes, since it is impossible to ensure sufficient freedom to use the results.
The first task of the Longevity School in Montenegro is to raise the level of knowledge of the participating patients. For this matter, we will conduct 67 lectures on the biology of aging with a final exam. Our goal is to establish cooperation, a dialogue between patients, doctors, and scientists to achieve the common goal of radical life extension. Second, we will start testing a fasting mimicking diet, which aims to reduce the level of insulin-like growth factor 1 in humans. The third step is the preparation of clinical trials protocols for testing combinations of anti-aging interventions. We will have five roundtable discussions to come up with the best strategy. In doing so, our goal is not just to confirm or deny effectiveness of a drug or a combination of drugs. We will not stop at testing of a minor drug candidate like metformin. Our goal is to constantly increase the power of interventions, adapting it to the current situation and health conditions. That is why one of the tasks for Open Longevity project is to implement aging diagnostics into clinical practice.
The first Longevity School will be held from 29 March to 7 April. The Montenegro school is our first one, but we will systematically run Longevity Schools on all continents to engage millions of people into the common cause of life extension. We are moving from simple to complex, from diet to gene therapy, until aging is defeated.