July 07, 2009 – Prizes are by far the most powerful tool for inspiring radical scientific breakthroughs. Going back to 1714 to the Longitude Prize, rewards have proven to encourage new levels of excellence and innovation, expanding perceptions of what is possible. Prizes, like Napoleon’s Food Preservation Prize (“an army marches on its stomach”) which ended famine and significantly contributed to the near doubling of lifespan in the developed world and the Orteig Prize which lead to Charles Lindberg crossing the Atlantic in 1927, mobilize a large pool of talent with diverse approaches and techniques. That is why the Methuselah Foundation offers the Mprize as part of its mission to extend healthy human life.
The Mprize offers researchers significant cash incentives in two categories: Longevity and Rejuvenation. Prizes are awarded for breaking the world record for the oldest-ever mouse and the most successful late-onset rejuvenation. The amount won is in proportion to the size of the fund and to the margin by which the previous record is broken. World class research teams from leading universities, including Harvard and MIT, are currently in competition for the prize.
Today the Methuselah Foundation announces four new competitors for the MPrize:
Tom Johnson, University of Colorado at Boulder is working with genetically diverse mice to identify variants and isolate the genes that contribute to a longer life to “build” a mouse with a greater lifespan. The mice will live with environmental conditions and dietary restrictions conducive to longer life.
Michal Masternak is expanding on the work of Andrzej Bartke (previous Mprize winner) also of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, breeding mice lacking both growth hormone and growth hormone receptor. They are observing increased insulin sensitivity, another factor related to sustained health and longevity.
Frank Wang, Neuroprotection Inc., is starting with the premise that blood pressure plays a pivotal role in human longevity. His team will treat their “middle age” mice with blood pressure medicine. They anticipate a direct correlation between lower blood pressure and longer lifespan.
Bruce Teter, UCLA, is exploring the use of curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, to extend the life span of mice. Feeding mice curcumin will determine if curcumin mimics the effects of Calorie Restriction in extending maximal lifespan with either life-long or late-life intervention.
Previous Winner and Current Mprize Co-Chair Dr. Andrzej Bartke currently holds the Mprize for the longest living mouse, awarded in 2004 when a growth hormone receptor gene knockout mouse reached a record age of nearly five years. Last month Bartke received an $8.6 million National Institutes of Health grant as the lead researcher on a study of the factors affecting aging and longevity. “The team will focus on mutant strains of mice that live longer than normal mice and examine the ways in which the aging process is affected by fat cells, genes and insulin,” explains Bartke.
Dave Gobel, Founder and CEO of Methuselah Foundation, welcomes the new competitors, “Aging has become a real focus for research and we are pleased that some of the world’s top scientists are competing for the Mprize. We will be tracking and reporting their progress with great anticipation as the Foundation aggressively prosecutes its mission to help people live longer, healthier lives.”
Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit medical charity dedicated to extending healthy human life. The Foundation supports strategies that accelerate progress toward a comprehensive cure for age-related disease, disability, and suffering. Supported by the donations of individuals and organizations, the programs of Methuselah Foundation include near, mid and long term strategies that advance the mission of ending age-related disease through awareness, education, scientific research and direct community outreach.
Contact: Merle Benny, email@example.com, 973-763-7174
Source: The Methuselah Foundation