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Foundation Plans $1B for Longevity Research

Older couple

(Mabel Amber, Pixabay)

30 Sept. 2021. A charitable foundation began work today supporting research on human longevity, with the goal of increasing lifespans to more than 120 years. The Longevity Science Foundation in Zug, Switzerland says it’s committed to distributing $1 billion for research in the next 10 years.

Longevity Science Foundation aims to fund research that translates theoretical concepts to practical treatments and solutions made available to clinicians as soon as possible, with results benefiting patients within the next five years. The group plans to support research in four main areas spanning medicine and technology: therapies, personalized medicine, artificial intelligence, and predictive diagnostics. The organization says addressing these topics will also help resolve radical inequalities in accessing and understanding longevity-based treatments.

The foundation’s review process indicates the group’s board plans to review all funding applications for technical soundness and potential impact. After selecting the most promising projects, the foundation’s donors will be asked to vote on the final choice of proposals to fund. No due dates for proposals are given on the foundation’s web site.

“After all, we are all patients suffering from aging”

“The symbiotic efforts of the foundation,” says the organization’s board chair Evelyne Yehudit Bischof in a foundation statement, “are a splendid chance for the field of longevity medicine to argue its position as a novel, most progressive and crucial medical specialty, as well as to accelerate the bridging of the gap between the gerosciences and the clinic. This includes advancing a patient-centered and personalized approach.” Bischof, a physician at Human Longevity Inc., adds, “After all, we are all patients suffering from aging, and as such as we should all be engaged in finding a solution.”

Longevity Science Foundation also signals a preference for data- and technology-driven solutions. In a blog post published today on the group’s web site, Garri Zmudze, a venture investor in companies in the longevity field, points out companies using innovations in technology to advance health care solutions that extend human lifespans. One of those companies is Insilico Medicine in Hong Kong that applies artificial intelligence to drug discovery.

The essay tells how Insilico needed better access to real-world medical data segregated into incompatible silos to train the company’s algorithms, and found blockchain technology offered a way to capture diverse data while maintaining patient privacy. Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, is a member of the Longevity Science Foundation board. Zmudze also describes the work of Longenesis, a company he founded in Riga, Latvia that uses blockchain to enable health care providers to offer their patients’ data for research, while protecting individual privacy.

In the foundation’s statement, Zhavoronkov notes, “the foundation has created a unique and transparent mechanism for boosting early longevity research worldwide and ensuring mass public participation in decision making. This approach finally allows us to speak about getting closer to the idea of mass adoption of longevity ideas and treatments.”

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