The new heuristic of rejuvenation biotechnology holds the key to delay – perhaps indefinitely – the diseases and disabilities of old age: to restore youthful health and vigor to the aging body by removing, repairing, replacing, and rendering harmless the cellular and molecular damage of aging. To fully realize that potential, this key must be applied systematically, to all forms of structural damage that take root in our aging tissues over time.
The mission of SENS Foundation thus extends beyond the realization of the specific, individual rejuvenation therapies whose development we fund. SENS Foundation advances the field of rejuvenation biotechnology as a whole. We do this by funding and performing targeted biomedical research; by supporting the emergence and capacities of the first generation of specialist rejuvenation biotechnology researchers; and by facilitating interaction and exchange amongst researchers laboring in isolation in the many corners of advanced medical science that make up this emerging field or research. Ultimately, we are catalyzing the emergence, convergence, and growth of the rising rejuvenation biotechnology industry.
SENS Foundation is, first and foremost, a biomedical charity, investing in research to accelerate progress toward rejuvenation biotechnologies. There is no lack of biomedical research projects in rejuvenation science that SENS Foundation could potentially fund, either in our intramural research facility (the SENS Foundation Research Center (RC)), or in academic and independent research centers with specialized expertise and experience in key research fields. We therefore use two criteria to prioritize projects that maximize the impact of our research budget. First, the Foundation applies critical-path analysis to the state of the field as a whole, and targets those areas of the field that are underdeveloped relative to the overall progress the rejuvenation biotechnology “space.” Second, we choose projects that highlight the power of the repair-and-maintenance heuristic of rejuvenation biotechnology to impact all of the diseases and disabilities of aging, creating and explicating a bioengineering template that can be applied wherever a cell, tissue, or system degrades with aging and leads to frailty and disease.
Many of the terrible diseases and disabilities that give misery to the lives of people after their first, fleeting decades of youthful health are caused by amyloid accumulations (and curable with therapeutic vaccines), or accumulations of dysfunctional cells (and reversible by selectively clearing them out), or other forms of cellular and molecular damage (as is discussed more in detail here).
Researchers and investors are waking up to a sobering reality: the heavy-handed pharmaceutical manipulation of cellular metabolism that characterized the blockbuster drugs of the 1990s is now reaching its limits. And this is happening at the very moment that the demographic swell of the baby boom generation is beginning to suffer with the first real experience most of them have had with the pathology of the aging process. If medicine is to be renewed, and we are to move beyond merely “managing” the inexorable slide into disability, dysfunction, and death when these drugs fail, a new approach is needed.
Each time we successfully apply the heuristic of rejuvenation biotechnology to another of these problems, the effect of SENS Foundation’s research investments are leveraged by the pressure for the reform of biomedicine that is coming from aging patients, frustrated investors, and nervous public and private health insurance managers. Success will increasingly draw in interest from government and academic researchers, other medical charities, and the biotech industry- to apply the same tools to other age-related pathologies. Each time we apply the heuristic of rejuvenation biotechnology to another of these issues, we will spark a movement that can rejuvenate medical practice and the medical industry.
Whether it is restoring youthful elasticity to stiffening blood vessels, rebuilding the organs that produce the protective T-cells that protect us from the pneumonia and other infectious diseases that kill so many of our elderly, or clearing away cells that have ceased to perform their function but refuse to die – across all of these apparently unconnected failures of the aging body, SENS Foundation’s strategic investments in critical-path biomedical research fills in the gaps in the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology space. Through conferences and communications, we knit the emerging rejuvenation biotechnology field into a cohesive force that creates its own momentum. And by helping to train the first generation of self-conscious rejuvenation bioengineers, we empower young researchers whose life’s work will be to bring more youthful life to us all.
Step by step, this movement is catalyzing the transformation of biomedical research. We are bringing the pieces together, moving toward new cures, and creating the prototypes that others will take up and apply to the multiple diseases and disabilities of aging. We are proving that medicine can do more by repairing the damage of aging than it can by subjecting failing cells to ever more pharmaceutical stimulus and suppression – and that it can accomplish more than merely forestalling the onset and inexorable progression of age-related disease. In the new heuristic of rejuvenation biotechnology, the course of the degenerative aging process is arrested and reversed at its structural core: age-related disease and disability is conquered by sustaining and renewing the youthful molecular integrity of our organs, tissues, and cells. As we spark a revolution in biomedical research, the blights of our “golden years” will fall away, ending in men and women whose “glory days” are ever before them, stretching far into an indefinite tomorrow.
Michael Rae is employed by the SENS foundation as Research Assistant and a popular science writer with a strong focus on health and aging. He is the author of five scientific articles and commentaries in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Much of his work has been devoted to elucidating the SENS platform for anti-aging biomedicine for a popular audience.