What is the Mprize?
The Mprize consists of two separate prize competitions, both of which are judged by our scientific advisory board:
In the competition for the Longevity Prize, money is awarded to the producer of the world's oldest-ever mouse. This is restricted to the species used in virtually all laboratory work, Mus musculus, but no other restrictions should be placed on the way in which the mouse's lifespan is extended, provided that the methods used maintain cognitive and physical wellbeing.
The amount won by a winner of the Longevity Prize is in proportion to the size of the fund at that time, but also in proportion to the margin by which the previous record is broken.
The Rejuvenation Prize rewards successful late-onset interventions performed on an aged mouse and has been instituted to satisfy two shortcomings of the Longevity Prize: first, it is of limited scientific value to focus on a single mouse (a statistical outlier); and second, it is very likely that interventions applied throughout life (as they are during Longevity Prize research) will always be ahead of those initiated late, and thus would have an ongoing advantage in a simple competition structure. Our most important end goal is not merely to extend life, but to promote the development of interventions that restore youthful physiology. By seeking interventions that are effective when initiated at a late age, this prize encourages scientific research that is most likely to benefit those reading these guidelines today.
The Rejuvenation Prize is not awarded for the life extension of an individual mouse but for a published, peer-reviewed study. The study must satisfy the following criteria:
The amount won by a successful new Rejuvenation Prize record is calculated in the same way as for the Longevity Prize, but is only awarded upon publication of the study in question.
Competitor Craig Cooney
I am working on a paper right now for a study I just completed in competition for the MPrize. I am also doing grant applications for new studies; it takes many years. If I have a new idea today for a breakthrough in mouse lifespan, the results could easily be 10 years off.
My work involves epigenetics, changes in appearance or gene expression that do not change the underlying DNA. We hope to find ways to maintain cells for decades, avoiding the breakdown that we see now in aging. This dysfunction may cause skin or liver cells to stop doing their job and, just like a very elderly person, they are unable to contribute. We need to understand these mechanisms and combine different approaches - genetics, diet, drugs - to begin to see real changes in longevity and long term health.