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.