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Antiaging Research Priorities [was Re: Major Criticisms of The Telomeric Theory

Tom Matthews tmatth at netcom.ca
Tue Sep 15 22:19:51 EST 1998


Excelife wrote:

> The
> question I raise is where would you allocate funds for aging research if you
> could make the decision?
> 
> This is not an idle question!  Lifeline Labs. is nearing the position to be
> able to fund additional research into aging.  If you are aware of a specific
> research project or line of research into aging that holds more promise than
> the research into the telomeric theory we would love to see it.
> 
> We will be soliciting Research Grant Applications in the very near future and
> are open to any research that has the potential to effect human aging.

Okay, I will give you my choice based on my current knowledge of things
(which may change after I have had more opportunity to review and think
about Aubrey's mitochondrial research proposals).

Currently, calorie restriction is the only therapy which is non invasive
and can be applied to an already living animal which has been proven to
extend mean and maximum lifespan across many species, the latest
appearing to be primates, although the experiment will not be complete
for some years. The only reason why humans will not and do not use CR
(although some do) to extend their lives and health is because of its
impalatability (literally :-). What is needed is a major research effort
to find out the exact mechanism by which CR extends healthy mean and
maximum lifespan, then create the necessary drug thearpies to achieve
"the CR effect", and make them available to humans. If this can be done,
it should be worth billions of dollars to whoever patents those
effecting drugs.

Again the main reasons this is my choice are:

1. We know calorie restriction works now to rduce and delay *every* type
of fatal disease process (at lesst in many animal species, far more than
we had the same data about any other method of antiaging).

2. It is a very low tech and non-invasive "adjustment of our
biochemistry in some manner.

3. It is reasonable to think that we can discover its mechanism in
detail.

4. It is reasonable to think that we can cause this same mechanism to be
invoked by drugs instead of 'starvation'.

While calorie restriction (or its drug induced manifestation) will by no
means give us immortality, it will allow many of us (especially the
older ones of us) to live long enough for higher tech, more fundamental
interventions in the aging process (maybe telomere lengthening) to
become available. What I am saying is the our antiaging research
priorities should be set in a kind of boot-strap fashion: First do what
is simplest and easiest to get us another 20-30 years. Only after that
is complete, do you put the big money into things that have promise for
much longer life extension, but are inherently more complex and more
difficult.

Don't forget, that as life-extensionists, our purpose is not
*scientific* per se. Our highest priority should not be the glitziest
and/or most interesting and/or the most fundamental science. Instead,
our purpose is very simply to remain alive and healthy, and *that* is
what should set our research priorities.   

--Tom 
Tom Matthews
 
The LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION - http://www.lef.org - 800-544-4440 
A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension
of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research,
innovative ideas and practical methods.
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