Aubrey de Grey Establishes the Longevity Escape Velocity Foundation
Aubrey de Grey, co-founder of the Methuselah Foundation and later the SENS Research Foundation (SRF), funding the latter organization with $13M of his own resources to add to the donations of philanthropists, has over the past year separated from the SRF, for reasons that I intend to neither discuss nor have a public opinion on. Per his presentation at the recent Longevity Summit Dublin, he has now founded the Longevity Escape Velocity (LEV) Foundation in collaboration with the Ichor Life Sciences principals to continue to bring funding into the programs that he believes need to happen in order to unblock important lines of research and development leading to rejuvenation therapies.
It is quite clearly the case that we wouldn't be as far advanced as we are today without the past twenty years of patient advocacy, agitation, education, outreach, and philanthropic funding of blocked and neglected research, without the efforts of the staff and leadership of the Methuselah Foundation, SENS Research Foundation, and their growing list of allies in the research community.
Details are somewhat sparse as to which specific programs will be undertaken by the LEV Foundation, but we should probably expect them to be much along the same lines as the work done at SRF over the past decade. Combining interventions appears to be an initial focus; it was always the case that the SENS approach to aging was envisaged as many different therapies targeting different forms of age-related damage. Meanwhile, many promising programs are roadblocked in the early stages by problematic financial and regulatory incentives, which can only be efficiently bypassed by philanthropic funding aimed at simply getting the job done: do the work, unblock the program, get it to a point at which it is interesting to entrepreneurs and biotech investors. That approach to progress at the SRF has led to a number of spin-out biotech companies working towards human rejuvenation, and more of the same lies in the future at the LEV Foundation.
The SRF (and Methuselah Foundation!) of course continue as they were: they are still conducting useful programs that advance specific areas of research relevant to human rejuvenation towards readiness for well-funded development. The Methuselah Foundation tends to focus much of its energy on projects relating to the tissue engineering of replacement organs, and running the Methuselah Fund for investment in biotech startups in the longevity industry, while the SRF has a broader remit connected to the fundamental biochemistry of aging, and the SENS vision of rejuvenation as repair of the underlying molecular damage that causes aging. Both are doing good work.
Longevity Escape Velocity (LEV) Foundation exists to proactively identify and address the most challenging obstacles on the path to the widespread availability of genuinely effective treatments to prevent and reverse human age-related disease.
Aubrey de Grey inspires at Longevity Summit Dublin 2022
Dr. Aubrey de Grey presented an overview of the projects LEV Foundation is already funding during his talk at Longevity Summit Dublin, video of which is available.
I think it's important to point out the LEVF goal of robust mouse rejuvenation, or RMR - waiting for a mouse to reach middle age, treating it, and getting it to live significantly longer than it "naturally" does, probably by a factor of 2x.
Given the choice between advancing various different medicines and slogging through clinical trials in humans, singling out RMR and succeeding would provide a great selling point/tipping point for the public and industry and regulatory bodies.
This is assuming that RMR will be much easier (and more obvious) to achieve than rejuvenation in humans, which I think is the case.
Almost four years ago Aubrey was saying RMR was likely only three years away, so I hope he might weigh in to tell us why he thinks that hasn't panned out on schedule. Since it has not, I'm curious whether he still thinks it's right round the corner.
Sure. First, did I really say three years? I thought the lowest I had ever said was 3-5 years. But either way, yes, there has been slippage. I'm afraid the main reason is the events at SRF, because basically no one else was going to get there any time soon. We had designed the program and hired its lead scientist nearly two years ago, but the serious money that should and would have been thrown at it has not been. But the good news is that no new technical obstacles have come to light, so I still think 3-5 years. In fact, you know, I will stick my neck out and say 3-4 years, since a number of quite exciting relevant studies have come out during my interregnum. Of course this is with 50% probability as usual.
Good luck. I think the biggest roadblock right now is the lack of a decent non invasive biomarker to measure the level of senescent cells and whether or not a treatment is removing them.
Thank you, Aubrey. That's tremendously disappointing to hear.
And yes, I took the three year prediction from the beginning of this interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMFST20xHwk
Hi Aubrey, is the RMR project still being conducted at SRF or is this something you'll try and take on at LEVF?
Thanks in advance
The new method of experimentation is to grow cells and tissues in a laboratory and then to experiment on them , instead of on live animals.
Even if mouse rejuvenation works well - the same method may work poorly in humans or not at all.
I suggest: grow human tissues in labs and try rejuvenation methods on them
Then on live human patients where it is legally allowed.
We don't have much time
Aubrey is near 60 years of age. Do the fastest experimental methods that can benefit humans
Do it before we are all DEAD.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO EVERYONE.
I'm primarily glad that we're still trying to make things happen, even if it's not at the speed we would necessarily like. Clearly the goal has to be making things work, and pursuing those leads that will lead to that. I personally think that whatever is going to spur society into supporting our goals is probably the best bet, because then we should have the funding and popular opinion required to take things to the next level - we have to seek those "watershed moments".
Anyway, thank you for continuing your work, Aubrey. I know it's of vital importance.
@nicholas. well said sir 🙌
I continue to be inspired by the level of effort being directed by a few forward thinking and driven individuals advocating for a new way of approaching the goal of life extension and healthy aging. To those of us 'of a certain age' working in the pharma/biotech industry, the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity seems remote; however, one can only hope our children will benefit from these efforts. Historically, drug and biologics development is a long 10-15 year process fraught with high-risk and disappointment. Although there has been some success using the RMAT development pathway (still lengthy), I am concerned that we still don't have the regulatory framework necessary to capitalize on the speed of scientific innovation. This, I am afraid, may be the rate-limiting step to fighting aging in the near term. The FDA mind set of one drug, one disease does not fit the model needed - not the least of which is lack of agency recognition of aging as a disease. Hopefully the newly formed A4LI can help us achieve a form of operation light speed directed at aging...time is running out.