What is the Mprize?
The Mprize competition is an exciting and viable mid-term strategy to deliver on the Methuselah Foundation's mission of extending healthy human life. It directly accelerates the development of revolutionary new life extension therapies by awarding two cash prizes: one to the research team that breaks the world record for the oldest-ever mouse; and one to the team that develops the most successful late-onset rejuvenation. Previous winners have already proven that healthy life can be extended; each new winner pushes the outer limits of healthy life back even further...and each new winner takes us even further.
A well-designed prize is the ONLY method that has shown to be 100% successful in turning the impossible into a near-term reality. Prizes make this kind of ground-breaking change achievable by:
By throwing out all previous assumptions about aging and offering scientists and researchers a huge (and ever-increasing!) cash prize incentive, the Mprize is guaranteed to create revolutionary solutions...quite possibly within our lifetimes.
Mice are genetically similar to humans. They are small and inexpensive to maintain so studying large quantities is feasible. Their short lifespan, about three years, makes it possible to see if interventions result in longer, healthier lives – all in time to be of benefit to our own lives.
Mice are widely considered to be the prime model of inherited human disease and studies have shown that mice share 99% of their genes with humans. The similarities between sections of human and mouse DNA allow researchers working with mouse genes to make incredibly accurate predictions about the location and function of their human counterparts. Mice have been the mainstay of laboratory research on human illness and longevity.
The species Mus musculus is used in the laboratory for experimental work, including the biology of aging. Their long history of captivity has resulted in strong selection for rapid growth and breeding and has resulted in a wide variation in lifespan between different (inbred) laboratory strains. Most useful studies of lifespan are done on strains with a relatively long lifespan. The one most often used is "C57Bl/6", which normally lives about three years without any life-extending intervention.
What You Can Do
What do the end of famine, the discovery of longitude, and private space travel have in common? Each of these world-changing innovations was created by an inventor seeking to win a prize. The Mprize is a multi-million dollar prize to end the diseases of aging. Right now, brilliant minds all around the world are competing for this prize. Your support will help them get there faster.
Competitor Andrzej Bartke
We are working with mutant mice in which reduced release of several hormones from the pituitary or resistance to the actions of one of these hormones are associated with very impressive (approximately 50%) increase in life expectancy. These animals not only live long but are also partially protected from cancer and other age-related diseases and maintain their memory and learning ability into very late life. Our research, together with the findings from other laboratories, suggests that improved responses to insulin may explain the envious characteristics of these mutant mice. We strongly suspect that altered action of insulin in a particular organ or cell type is responsible for the delay of aging in these mice and that these alterations at a particular stage of life may be especially important. Our aim is to find how, where and when must the action of insulin be altered to produce a long-lived individual.
Few people not directly involved in gerontological research are fully aware of the exciting developments in the study of aging and what I feel is the very real prospect of devising effective means of postponing age-related disease and functional decline and yes, prolonging life. The Methuselah Mouse Prize captures popular attention, as evidenced by extensive media coverage it already received, and I believe will play a very important role in securing continued public interest in the work on mechanisms and control of aging.