As the decade draws to a close, I’m looking ahead to the next one. And the next. I am optimistic that my chance of living a long, healthy life get better every day. I see the possibility of adding happy, healthy, productive years to my life and yours. No cancer, no Alzheimer’s and a heart that keeps on beating. Wouldn’t we all want an extra decade to spend with your family, to accomplish our goals and to enjoy life.
Methuselah Foundation is working on it! We have 3 initiatives underway right now as we wrap up the decade and begin a new one.
Understanding Aging So We Can Extend Healthy Life
In 2009 we awarded a special Mprize for a study that showed unequivocally that mice lived longer when they took the drug rapamycin.
We believe in the power of prizes. We created the Mprize to encourage, incentivize and reward world-class scientists to solve the problem of aging. The prize also attracts new funding, brains, approaches and publicity to the mission of extending healthy life.
What we are seeking – and expect to find – is not just a longer life for you, but a long, healthy, vibrant and productive life. 80, 90, 100 and even more healthy years. Cancer and Alzheimer’s free. It’s a tall order but one we are fully committed to.
Extensive studies are being conducted right now in private labs and universities to understand what happens to our bodies as we age and to find ways to circumvent or prevent the damage. Rapamycin is one approach; the drug delayed the deaths of the longest-lived male mice by 101 days and females by 151 days. That is similar to 13 human years! And the drug was not given to the mice until they were 600 days old – equal to 60 human years!
The Mprize fund has grown from donations large and small. While some have been able to contribution tens of thousands, others give small amounts. Together they have added up to $3.8 million. Let’s continue to grow this sum until we find the solution.
Finding a Better System for Organ Replacement
The black market for human organs made headlines in 2009. What didn’t make the daily news were the men, women and children who died each day because they did not get an organ or because the transplant they had failed. Failed to give them a long, healthy life.
We can’t stand by and let people die, or live in poor health, when an alternative is possible. That’s why Methuselah Foundation invested in Organovo this year. We believe that Dr. Gabor Forgacs (Biological Physics, University of Missouri) and the team at Organovo are creating a better way to replace aging or diseased organs.
When Thomas Klauset Aurdal, a 23 year old student in Norway, heard we were supporting the work of Organovo, he sent $1000. According to Thomas, who had a heart transplant when he was only 16 years old:
“Future generations of transplantation patients will have a better chance of getting the organs and they will have a better quality of life and life expectancy than I have.”
We call our long term strategy MLife Sciences. Simply stated, it is where your donations go to be sure there is money available to turn promising research into practical solutions. Life saving solutions. Solutions that lead to the possibility of you – of Thomas – of your family, living a long, healthy, vibrant and productive life.
Thomas wanted to invest in proven research but knew his donation was too small to invest directly in a regenerative medicine company. But making a donation to Methuselah Foundation allows him, and you, to give whatever amount you choose. No donation is too small. If each of us makes a contribution, together we can become major contributors to a new, better, promising way to extend the lives of everyone suffering from organ failure.
Building a Support System for the Seriously Ill
Kate’s husband died last year after a long struggle with cancer. Her mom has leukemia and, this year, her brother was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer. Even though Kate Esposito is a medical professional, she struggles to find the best resources for her family. That’s why she liked our approach to helping people cope:
“Learning about My Bridge 4 Life was truly an “aha” moment. Having an online wellness network that allows access to information, creation of one’s own support team from all different areas of the globe, and building a wellness plan during a major health crisis is a brilliant concept.”
My Bridge 4 Life was created so we could provide an immediate resource for anyone who has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. It is equally valuable to family, friends and caregivers of anyone with cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and any number of other diseases that take away years and vitality.
I am pleased that I had this opportunity to share with you the important work that Methuselah Foundation is going right now. Together we can make a real difference. We can make a difference for Thomas, Kate, for you and your children. Give generously. End the decade with a promise for the future. It’s hard to imagine a better way to celebrate the season and end the year.
Founder and CEO, Methuselah Foundation
PS Remember time is running out for a 2009 tax deduction. Donate now. Methuselah Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, IRS Tax ID Number: 54-2040344. It is quick and easy to donate. If you prefer, you can mail, call or fax:
PO Box 1143, Lorton, VA, 22199-1143
Our phone number is 571.339.9123 or Fax 703.440.5141