Saturday, August 30, 2008

Take 3 Minutes NOW (Before Sept 1!)- You Can Make a Difference in Anti-Aging Research. (NOT a Plea for $$)

Your (quick, easy, free) vote can direct American Express to contribute scholarship money to "Undergrads Fighting Age Related Disease" for research projects aimed and removing the cellular and molecular damage of aging.

But you must act NOW as the vote ends on Sept 1st! You do NOT have to be an AmEx cardholder to vote.

Let me turn you over to Michael Rae for details:

"Please vote now to get American Express to contribute scholarship money for research projects aimed and removing the cellular and molecular damage of aging!

http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C

An undergrad student named Kelsey Moody was trying to find a way to get working directly on the SENS platform of age-reversing biotechnologies (see the outline here:

http://www.mfoundation.org/index.php?pagename=sens_index

... and for more detail, the popular science book I cowrote with Aubrey de Grey:

http://tinyurl.com/22anhb

Inquiring around, he was alerted to the existence of established programs ("Independent Studies" and "Advanced Honors" Programs) through which the American university system allows undergrads to get together with faculty and design and execute their own research projects, for which the university provides basic resources (lab space, access to equipment, limited expenses for anything they need that isn't available), usually a small scholarship, and (upon successful
completion) academic credit.

Showing astounding initiative, Kelsey switched majors from psychology to biochem, and got himself set up on a project related to breaking down neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), an intracellular aggregate that is one of the hallmark lesions of Alzheimer's disease and several other neurodegenerative diseases, and appears to be the main pathological factor in neuron death in those diseases:

http://www.answers.com/topic/neurofibrillary-tangles

de Grey AD, Alvarez PJ, Brady RO, Cuervo AM, Jerome WG, McCarty PL, Nixon RA, Rittmann BE, Sparrow JR.

Medical bioremediation: prospects for the application of microbial catabolic diversity to aging and several major age-related diseases. Ageing Res Rev. 2005 Aug;4(3):315-38. Review. PMID: 16040282 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
http://www.mfoundation.org/files/sens/medbioremPP.pdf de Grey AD.

Appropriating microbial catabolism: a proposal to treat and prevent neurodegeneration.

Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Apr;27(4):589-95. Epub 2005 Oct 3. Review. PMID: 16207503 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

http://www.mfoundation.org/files/sens/NBA-PP.pdf

Their removal could be expected to arrest neural death and play a major role in an ultimate cure for Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases, along with the 'normal' degeneration of the aging brain.

This was already an impressive self-started action on Kelsey's part, but then he initiated a project -- first on his own, and then with the Methuselah Foundation -- to facilitate getting students across the country signed up for these programs to do undergraduate work on SENS: the Methuselah Foundation Undergraduate Research Initiative:

http://www.mfuri.org/

This remarkable initiative absolutely thrilled me and other folks at the Foundation, which is now intending to start supplementing the available bare-bones funding for such projects with scholarships for the best ones.

And now, we've become aware that American Express has a program called the "Members Project," through which they donate money in support of a range of philanthropic projects, which are nominated by cardholders and whose ultimate award is decided by vote:

http://www.membersproject.com/

And voting is open to ANYONE -- not just cardholders!

Kelsey and others got MURFI set up just a few days ago, and astonishingly, it's already climbed up to being in the top 25! If they win, it would be hundreds of dollars freed up to support undergraduate scientists-in-formation in pursuing their mission of developing interventions against the biological aging process.

Right now, the deck is stacked against these students: biomedical gerontology is WOEFULLY underfunded, few schools even have specialized biogerontology departments, and too much of the focus remains on descriptive studies looking at all of the nasty things that go wrong in aging bodies instead of projects actually aimed at DOING something about it. This is a real opportunity to get good research done, and launch the careers of young people as scientists who will tackle the cellular and molecular damage of aging, contributing to the cure of age-related disease and ultimately of aging itself.

To mobilize AmEx's dollars, we need your votes by Sept 1, 2008. Yesterday, the first week of our efforts had yielded just over 1000 votes; but then the Foundation launched a wide email and blog promotion in communities friendly to curing aging, and ever since we've been ROCKETING ahead, and are looking to hit 1700 votes soon, with 3 days to go!

I *am* concerned that we've probably reached 'the usual suspects' and that we may suddenly, frustratingly plateau at any time, so your votes, and those of anyone you can drag along, are precious. It's easy to do:

1. Go to: http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C

2. Log in either as an Amex Card Member or as a Guest Member on the top right side (ANYone can vote as a Guest)

3. Complete the Registration Form, which will give you your login ID

4. Click the Nominate button at: http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/BVVE2C

You can then also post a supportive comment, to encourage others to cast their vote in favor of this exciting project in the advancement of real anti-aging medicine as they browse the many laudable causes.

Please sign up and vote now, and support a long and healthy life for all of us!

-Michael"

Pete comment: Aubrey and Michael's book "Ending Aging" is superb and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. Learn more and order their book at this link.

Now, PLEASE go vote at the AmEx site!

Cheers,
Pete