Introducing the Longevity Research Institute

I’ve just founded a nonprofit, the Longevity Research Institute — you can check it out here.

The basic premise is: we know there are more than 50 compounds that have been reported to extend healthy lifespan in mammals, but most of these have never been tested independently, and in many cases the experimental methodology is poor.

In other words, there seems to be a lot of low-hanging fruit in aging. There are many long-lived mutant strains of mice (and invertebrates), there are many candidate anti-aging drugs, but very few of these drugs have actually been tested rigorously.

Why? It’s an incentives problem. Lifespan studies for mice take 2-4 years, which don’t play well with the fast pace of publication that academics want; and the FDA doesn’t consider aging a disease, so testing lifespan isn’t on biotech companies’ critical path to getting a drug approved. Mammalian lifespan studies are an underfunded area — which is where we come in.

We write grants to academic researchers and commission studies from contract research organizations. Our first planned studies are on epitalon (a peptide derived from the pineal gland, which has been reported to extend life in mice, rats, and humans, but only in Russian studies) and C3 carboxyfullerene (yes, a modified buckyball, which prevents Parkinsonism in primate models and has been reported to extend life in mice). I’m also working on a paper with Vium about some of their long-lived mice, and a quantitative network analysis of aging regulatory pathways that might turn up some drug targets.

We’re currently fundraising, so if this sounds interesting, please consider donating. The more studies that can be launched in parallel, the sooner we can get results.