A Drug for a Longer Life: The Greatest Discovery of 2009

A Drug for a Longer Life: The Greatest Discovery of 2009

I want to share with you the most important word I've added to my vocabulary in 2009. Remember this word:


Rapa what? Rapamycin. It may not mean much to you now but there's a chance it will add 12 or more years to your life - an extra 12 healthy, productive years. Time you could use to accomplish your goals, fulfill your dreams and share your wisdom. Maybe you'll write a book, travel the world, spend time you're your grandchildren... even your great grandchildren.

In 2009 Methuselah Foundation awarded the first ever Lifespan Achievement Award to Dr. Z. Dave Sharp, University of Texas. We felt compelled to make this award when the amazing results of a study on rejuvenation of mice, carried out by the Intervention Testing Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), was published. This study showed unequivocally that mice lived longer when they took rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug generally taken by recipients of donor organs to avoid rejection.

We believe in the power of prizes. History has shown that significant prizes produce significant results. We created the Mprize to encourage, incentivize and reward world-class scientists to solve the problem of aging. At the same time the prize attracts new funding, brains, approaches and publicity to the mission of extending healthy life.

Extensive studies are being conducted right now in private labs and universities to understand what happens to our bodies as we age and to find ways to circumvent or prevent the damage. The Mprize fund has grown from donations large and small. While some have been able to contribution tens of thousands, others send small amounts. Together they have added up to $3.8 million. Let's continue to grow this sum until we find the solution.

What we are seeking - and expect to find - is not just a longer life for you, but a long, healthy, vibrant and productive life. 80, 90, 100 and even more healthy years. Cancer and Alzheimer's free. It's a tall order but one we are fully committed to. The 2000 mice that were tested in the NIA labs lived longer. The results were astounding. Rapamycin delayed the deaths of the longest-lived male mice by 101 days and the longest-lived female mice by 151 days. That is similar to 13 human years! Or, when you take into account the average remaining lifespan when the treatment began, it is an increase of 38% in female mice and 28% in males. And this drug was not given to the mice until they were 600 days old - the equivalent of 60 human years!

Of course, rapamycin has not yet been tested on humans but these results give us hope and promise.

At this time of year many of us make tax deductible contributions to nonprofit organizations. Please accept my personal assurance that your contribution will be put to good use. Consider making a regular monthly pledge of $50 or more but, remember, every gift is important, no matter what the amount.

Together we can make a real difference. We can help to understand and solve the damage of aging for you, your parents, friends and children and grandchildren. Give generously. Give the gift of life. It's hard to imagine a better way to celebrate the season and end the year.

Dave Gobel
Founder and CEO, Methuselah Foundation

PS ACT NOW: make a donation of $100 or more and we'll send you a Methuselah t-shirt. In fact, we'll send you one for every $100 you contribute before December 31.

PPS Your contribution will provide an incentive for researchers to continue the promising work done with rapamycin, resveratrol, calorie restriction, blood pressure and other paths to extending healthy human life. And remember that word: RAPAMYCIN.