|Founder(s)||Aubrey de Grey & David Gobel|
|Key people||David Gobel, Roger Holzberg, Andrej Bartke, Craig Cooney|
|Focus(es)||Life extension, rejuvenation|
|Method(s)||My Bridge 4 Life, The Mprize, MLife Sciences|
|Motto||Extending healthy human life|
The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that studies methods of extending lifespan. It was co-founded by Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel, and is based in Springfield, Virginia, United States. Activities of the foundation include My Bridge 4 Life, a community tool designed to help people deal with the different diseases of aging; the Mprize, a monetary prize given to anyone who efficiently rejuvenates and/or extends the healthy lifespan of mice; and various collaborative projects under the umbrella concept of MLife Sciences. The foundation takes its name from the Biblical character whose name is commonly used to refer to any living organism reaching great age.
The prize of $10 million will be awarded to the first research team who successfully construct and transplant a whole new fully functional organ made from a patient's own cells by 2025.
In 2003, de Grey and Gobel cofounded The Mprize (known then as the "Methuselah Mouse Prize"), an inducement prize contest designed to accelerate research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who extend the healthy lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. Regarding this, de Grey stated in March 2005, "if we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging." The prize has been covered in many news sources, including the BBC and Fortune magazine.
The foundation believes that if reversing of aging can be exhibited in mice, an enormous amount of funding would be made available for similar research in humans, potentially including a massive government project similar to the Human Genome Project, or by private for-profit companies.
Prize structure and current record holders
The foundation currently awards the following two prizes:
- A longevity prize for extending total lifespan: only a single mouse has to be presented.
- A rejuvenation prize focusing on intervention begun at older age, based on an experimental group of mice.
Whenever a record is broken, the researcher receives a proportion of the current prize fund. Specifically, if they exceeded the previous longevity record by X%, they receive (X / (100+X))% of the fund.
The longevity prize allows any type of intervention, including breeding and genetic engineering. As of 2009[update], the record holder is a mouse whose growth hormone receptor had been genetically knocked out; it lived for 1819 days (4.98 years). The average lifespan of a normal mouse in captivity is 1.5 to 2.0 years.
The rejuvenation prize deals with peer-reviewed studies involving at least 40 animals, 20 treated and 20 control. Treatment may begin only at mid-life, and the average lifespan of the 10% longest living treated animals is used for the record. As of 2009[update], this record stands at 1356 days (3.7 years); the treatment was calorie restriction.
Until November 2004, the foundation ran a reversal prize instead of the rejuvenation prize, with the following rules: the treatment of the mouse could be started at any age, and days before treatment had started were counted double. The winner was a mouse that did not receive any dietary or pharmacological treatment at all, just an enriched environment. The mouse lived for 1551 days (4.2 years).
MLife Sciences is an umbrella concept for various collaborative projects in which the Methuselah Foundation participates. One of them involves Organovo, Inc., a regenerative medicine company, with whom the Methuselah Foundation aims to be able to three-dimensionally print new organs and tissues from the patient's DNA.
Undergraduate Research Initiative
First proposed in April 2008, The Methuselah Foundation Undergraduate Research Initiative (MFURI) provided undergraduate college students in any academic discipline with the knowledge and logistical support to develop projects which contribute to the advocacy or support of the Methuselah Foundation or its mission of radically extending healthy human life. The MFURI provided students within the United States education system with the opportunity to receive college credits, scholarships, and recommendations for their efforts. Students from other countries were eligible to apply for many of the available scholarships. The MFURI project was administered by a team of volunteer supervisors and coordinators and received scholarship funding from the Methuselah Foundation. As of March 2009, MFURI has stopped under the Methuselah Foundation's supervision and moved to SENS Foundation, where it goes under the name of "the undergraduate component of the SENS Foundation's Academic Initiative."
The staff of the Methuselah Foundation:
- David Gobel, Chief Executive Officer
- Roger Holzberg, Chief Marketing Officer / Creative Director
- Andrzej Bartke, Co-chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mprize
- Craig Cooney, Co-chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mprize
Donors and volunteers
On September 16, 2006, Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of the online payments system PayPal, announced that he is pledging $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation "to support scientific research into the alleviation and eventual reversal of the debilities caused by aging" (SENS research). Justin Bonomo, professional poker player, has pledged 5% of his tournament winnings for SENS research. On December 9, 2010, Jason Hope, entrepreneur based in Scottsdale, AZ, pledged $500,000 donation.
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- "Father of Regenerative Medicine Pushes Mprize Over the $1 Million Mark". Methuselah Foundation. March 8, 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Sprague, Valerie (September 4, 2003). "Battle for 'old mouse' prize". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- de Grey, Aubrey (December 3, 2004). "'We will be able to live to 1,000'". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Stipp, David (June 14, 2004). "This Man Would Have You Live A Really, Really, Really, Really Long Time. If a mouse can survive the equivalent of 180 years, why not us? Or our kids? Scientific provocateur Aubrey de Grey has a plan.". Fortune. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "What is the Mprize?". Methuselah Foundation. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
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- Henderson, Megan (May 7, 2009). "'Live Forever' with Organs Made of Your DNA". KTLA. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- "Home Page". Methuselah Foundation Undergraduate Research Initiative (MFURI). Retrieved 2009-03-14.
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- "Staff". Methuselah Foundation. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Davidson, Keay (September 18, 2006). "BAY AREA — Entrepreneur backs research on anti-aging — Scientist says humans could live indefinitely". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "Please Welcome the Newest Members of The Three Hundred". Methuselah Foundation Blog. Methuselah Foundation. January 18, 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Jason Hope. Internet Entrepreneur Pledges A Donation To SENS Foundation - JasonHope.com. December 9, 2010.