Since the beginning of time, people have been looking for ways to slow the aging process and extend the human lifespan. Since the 1900s, humans have been able to increase their average life expectancy from only 31 years to 67.2. In some countries, such as the United States and Japan, the average life expectancy is even higher.
Scientists are continuing to conduct research in this field today and, with their efforts, experts predict that the human lifespan will continue to increase.
Below are some of the scientific research foundations leading the charge to increase the human lifespan.
SENS Research Foundation
The Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, or SENS, Research Foundation is a non-profit research organization created in March of 2009. Based in California, the SENS Research Foundation focuses on scientific rejuvenation research. The goal of the SENS Foundation’s research is to change the way the world approaches the treatment and research of age-related diseases and conditions. SENS scientists believe that medicine should focus on the repair of extracellular material and living cells, as opposed to focusing on intervening in metabolic processes or on the treatment of a specific disease.
SENS focuses on the following seven research themes, and it always has at least one active project for each theme:
- Intracellular accumulations
- Extracellular accumulations
- Extracellular crosslink
- Death-resistant cells
- Mitochondrial mutations
- Nuclear mutations
- Cell atrophy and loss
Like the SENS Research Foundation, the Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding methods of extending the human lifespan. The foundation is based in Virginia. The Methuselah Foundation funds longevity research, and it awards two Methuselah Mouse Prizes (MPrizes) to researchers who are able to break the record for extending the lives of mice. These two prizes are:
- The rejuvenation prize – awarded based on studies conducted on at least 40 animals, with treatment beginning at mid-life.
- The longevity prize– awarded based on the lifespan of a single mouse, with treatment beginning at any time.
Neither of these prizes is awarded on a regular basis. Instead, they are awarded when someone breaks the current record. The foundation recently announced that it plans to add a new prize, the NewOrgan Prize, which will be awarded to the first research team that is able to construct a new organ for a patient using the patient’s own cells.
Alliance for Aging
The Alliance for Aging is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the aging experience for humans by funding research projects and promoting education for professionals in the medical field, as well as consumers.
Current projects conducted by the Alliance for Aging include:
- SAGE Crossroads – an online forum used to discuss key issues related to aging, such as longevity and biomarkers.
- The Silver Book – a database that compiles information, such as graphs and statistics, from multiple sources. Data focuses on specific conditions, including osteoporosis, cancer, vision loss, diabetes and more.
In addition to these two ongoing projects, the Alliance for Aging also provides funding to researchers exploring longevity, stem cells and other concepts related to aging.
All of three of these research foundations are non-profit organizations. To continue their work toward increasing the human lifespan, they must seek financial support from third parties, such as businesses, the government, other organizations and even private citizens. Individuals and organizations that want to join the fight against aging can donate money to these foundations, which will then be used to fund anti-aging research, consumer education and public relations.
Without the help of generous donors, longevity research would not have come as far as it has. Surprisingly, a large portion of the money utilized by these organizations has come from entrepreneurs. In fact, the SENS Research Foundation and the Methuselah Foundation have both reported large donations from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, as well as from entrepreneurs Jason Hope and Sam Harris.
April Taylor is a freelance writer and is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. When she is not running around with her kids she is an avid health and medical aficionado.