Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mprize Newsletter

The Methuselah Foundation blog presents a detailed progress report, including a lot of information about the Mprize. The Mprize information is at the end of the post. For example:

The Mprize is designed to jumpstart scientific research into life-extending biomedicine with the twin incentives of (1) a large cash award, and (2) a prestigious public victory in a prominent research competition. The support of our generous donors is the key to this strategy: the magnetic draw of the Prize grows with every dollar pledged to this program. Therefore, we are pleased to report a substantial increase in the total amount of money in the Mprize fund, which now stands at $4.6 million.

They expect to get more competitor teams soon. They also have some ideas on lowering the costs of doing business for the teams. One is to outsource mouse trials. Another is described below:

Another way of limiting the cost and time required to perform anti-aging studies in mice is to encourage more researchers to compete in the Rejuvenation arm of the Mprize, which requires researchers to test their interventions in 16-month-old mice (instead of starting at weaning, as in the Longevity prize). Most of the Foundation's donors already favor the Rejuvenation Prize over the Longevity Prize by a very large margin, as measured in completed pledges to the two Prize funds: $1.48 million vs. $0.16 million - a ratio of more than 9 to 1. This preference is based on the urgent need to develop interventions that can extend the healthy life spans of people who are already middle-aged, in hopes that people alive today can still be rescued from a death by biological decay brought on by the aging process.