Methuselah Foundation’s August newsletter is available online:
In this issue we continue to introduce the newest competitors for the Mprize. Significant cash Prizes are awarded for Longevity, breaking the world record for the oldest-ever mouse, and Rejuvenation, the most successful late-onset rejuvenation of a mouse. The amount won is in proportion to the size of the fund and to the margin by which the previous record is broken. Frank Wang is competing for the Rejuvenation Mprize.
Frank Wang has a hobby. After years of practicing medicine in China he came to the United States to do neuroscience research. He went on to found Neuroprotection, a privately funded company based in Massachusetts. Along the way he developed his hobby: thinking about the cause of aging. Frank contemplated aging and, in his words, “The common belief is that aging is natural but that is not entirely right. Aging is a cause of death; it is itself a disease, the ultimate disease.” A question preoccupied him, “What is the real reason that creatures age?”
Frank tossed around all the theories including DNA damage, oxygen free radicals and landed on metabolism. Knowing that calorie restriction was the only proven path to extending life in mice, the next step was to consider why it works, the answer is it lowers metabolism. That led to the next conclusion: doctors have known for many years that to decrease metabolism you decrease blood pressure. And there Frank found where his hobby was taking him – he hopes to prove that lower blood pressure increases healthy lifespan.
Frank knew he was on to something but wasn’t sure how to proceed. He was happy to discover Methuselah Foundation; the Mprize offered just the incentive he needed to begin formal studies.
Frank will compete for the Rejuvenation Mprize. Groups of mice will be given blood pressure drugs; these drugs are typical medications taken by people with high blood pressure. Currently he is determining the proper dosage. The mice will begin receiving the medication at middle age, about 1 year old, equivalent to a human of 40 or 50 years. He anticipates a direct correlation between lower blood pressure and longer lifespan.
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August 4, 2009 – Most 23 year olds aren’t thinking about life expectancy. But Thomas Klauset Aurdal is; he has to. Seven years ago he was a teenager confronting his own mortality. He needed a heart transplant. Thomas was one of the lucky ones. He got his transplant and today he is studying political science in his native Norway. But he can’t live without immunosuppressive drugs. They prevent the rejection of his transplanted organ but have serious side effects and risks. Thomas decided to put his money where is heart is and invested $1000 in the future of organ replacement.
The mission of Methuselah Foundation is to extend healthy life. Through the MLife Science Fund they provide financial support for companies working in the research and development of long term life extension solutions. This funding depends on individual donors like Thomas. He became aware of Methuselah Foundation by surfing the web and was happy to find a way to be part of the solution.
Small Investments in Science, Big Dividends in the Future
$1000 is a very small amount to a venture capitalist but it’s a lot of money to a student. Thomas’s $1000 will support Organovo, a company that Methuselah Foundation has recognized as a leader in regenerative medicine. According to Founder and CEO Dave Gobel, “When individuals contribute to the MLife Sciences Fund they become change agents to extend healthy human life.”
Thomas believes the potential exists to change from the highly sensitive and risky donor model to organ regeneration. “I received a heart transplant in 2002 and am on toxic immunosuppressive drugs which drastically reduce healthy lifespan. I can see a world where patients don’t have to wait and risk dying while waiting for a donor organ from a dead person and where the patient doesn’t have to take a heavy immunosuppressant like Ciclosporin A.”
He goes on to say, “The Mlife Sciences initiative to support Organovo will bring transplantation medicine from the dark ages to modern times where compatible organs are available for everyone. Future generations of transplant patients will have a much better life expectancy than I have and someone needing a transplant will have a better chance of getting it. I’m proud to have the opportunity to be a supporter of Mlife Sciences.”
Thomas maintains his health by exercising and eating a nutritious diet including lots of vegetables. His favorite health tip: drink ten cups of green tea a day.
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.