Scientists' Open Letter on Aging
To whom it may concern,
has been slowed and healthy lifespan prolonged in many disparate animal models
(C. elegans, Drosophila, Ames dwarf mice, etc.). Thus, assuming there are common
fundamental mechanisms, it should also be possible to slow aging in humans.
Greater knowledge about aging should bring better management of the
debilitating pathologies associated with aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular
disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Therapies targeted at the
fundamental mechanisms of aging will be instrumental in counteracting these
Therefore, this letter is a call to action for
greater funding and research into both the underlying mechanisms of aging and
methods for its postponement. Such research may yield dividends far greater than
equal efforts to combat the age-related diseases themselves. As the mechanisms
of aging are increasingly understood, increasingly effective interventions can
be developed that will help prolong the healthy and productive lifespans of a
great many people.
Sincerely (57 Signatories),
Signatures From Leading Aging Researchers
- Prof. Vladimir N. Anisimov
Head of the Department of Carcinogenesis and Oncogerontology, N.N. Petrov Research Institute of Oncology, Russia; Author of Carcinogenesis and Aging and of Molecular and Physiological
Mechanisms of Aging. [04/18/2005]
- Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D.
Professor University of California, Berkeley, Senior Scientist
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute; U.S. National Medal of Science; Research in delaying the mitochondrial decay of aging. [04/25/05]
- Robert Arking, Ph.D.
Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University; Research focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the onset of senescence in Drosophila; Author of Biology of Aging: Observations and Principles. [10/15/05]
- Steven N. Austad, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of
Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho; Author of Why We Age: What Science Is Discovering about the Body's Journey
Through Life and numerous other aging research publications. [04/17/05]
- Nir Barzilai, M.D.
Director of the Institute for
Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Author of numerous
aging research publications; Founder of the Longevity Genes Project. [04/17/05]
- Brian F.C. Clark, Ph.D., ScD.
CoFounder of Senetek PLC, Professor of
Biostructural Chemistry, Aarhus University, Denmark, Centre Leader of
the Danish Centre of Molecular Gerontology. [09/28/05]
- L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D.
Visiting Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California; Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group; Founding Editor of Rejuvenation Research (formerly The Journal of Anti-Aging Research)
- T. Michael Cooper, Ph.D., MSEE
Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Southern Methodist University, (molecular
biology, aging research); formerly Senior Member Technical Staff, Texas
Instruments Inc/Raytheon-TI Systems (retired); Dallas, TX. [04/07/06]
Antonei B. Csoka,
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and
Reproductive Sciences, Division of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Research Institute; Research led to the
discovery of the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford
Progeria syndrome. [04/18/05]
- Richard G. Cutler, Ph.D,
Vice President of
Kronos Science Laboratories, Inc.,
Longevity Sciences Group; founder of Genox Corporation; Proposed and tested the Longevity Determinant Gene Hypothesis the Dysdifferentiation Hypothesis of Aging and the oxidative stress as a primary mechanism of aging model. [04/18/05]
- Aubrey D.N.J. de
Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge,
United Kingdom; Founder of the Strategies for
Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) approach to anti-aging medicine; Editor-in-chief of Rejuvenation Research. [04/11/05]
- João Pedro de Magalhães,
Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of
Namur in Belgium; Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School; Author of a
number of publications on aging; Designed and implemented the Human Ageing Genomic
- Joseph M. Erwin, Ph.D.
Independent Consultant and Executive Director, Foundation for Comparative & Conservation Biology; Adjunct Professor, Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology and VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech; Senior Fellow, Center for Conservation and Behavior at Georgia Tech; Co-editor of Aging In Nonhuman Primates. [04/17/05]
- Leonid A. Gavrilov,
Center on Aging, NORC at the University of Chicago, Chicago; Author of The Biology
of Life Span; Founder of the Reliability Theory of Aging. [04/6/05]
- Natalia S. Gavrilova, Ph.D.
Center on Aging, NORC at the University of Chicago, Chicago; Co-author
of The Biology of Life
Span; Author of over a hundred scientific
publications on aging and
longevity studies. [04/18/05]
- David Gems, Ph.D.
UCL Centre for Research on Ageing,
Department of Biology,
University College London; Author of numerous aging research publications. [04/17/05]
- David Gershon, Ph.D.
Skillman Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology;
Chief Science Officer, Redox Pharmaceutical Corp. [04/18/05]
- S. Mitchell Harman, M.D., Ph.D.
M.D. and Ph.D. SUNY HSC, Brooklyn; Board Certified Internal Medicine and Endocrinology; former Chief, Endocrinology Section, Intramural Research Program, NIA, NIH and Assoc. Prof., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; current Director and President, Kronos Longevity Research Institute and Clinical Prof. Medicine, U of AZ College of Medicine. Internationally recognized expert in effect of aging on hormone balance and hormone replacement treatment. [04/13/06]
- Christopher B. Heward, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Biology
from the University of Arizona; Senior Research Fellow in the UCLA Program on
Medicine, Technology, and Society; President of Kronos Science Laboratories,
- Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Biology
from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Faculty member, The Basic Biology
of Aging at the University of Washington; Co-founder, Longenity Inc.
- Alexander V. Khalyavkin, Ph.D.
Academic Secretary, Gerontological Society of RAS, Moscow Branch; Academic Secretary, Problem Committee "Physiology & Biology of Aging", Joint Scientific Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Health Ministry; Author of the concept an organism's non-senescence due to vital regimens, evoked by positive environmental influences or artificial cues. [04/19/05]
- Marios Kyriazis, M.D.
M.D. from the Univerisity of Rome; MSc in Gerontology from the University of London, King's College; President of the British Longevity Society; Author of Carnosine: And Other Elixirs of Youth. [04/18/05]
- Don A. Kleinsek, Ph.D.
Received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in Physiological Chemistry. President and founder of GeriGene Medical Corporation, in Madison, Wisc. GeriGene's mission is to stop the aging process. [10/13/05]
- Peter M. Lansdorp M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Senior Scientist
Terry Fox Laboratory, B.C. Cancer Research Center; major focus of research on genetic instability in aging and cancer, publications. [09/30/05]
- Marc S. Lewis, Ph.D.
Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in Clinical Psychology. Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin of Clinical Psychology. Research is focused on the interface of molecular biology and epidemiology with an emphasis on the molecular biology of aging. [06/12/05]
- Valter Longo, Ph.D.
Professor and researcher at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science, Cell Biology and genetics, regulation of aging and multiple stress resistance systems in yeast and mammals, Alzheimer's Disease.
- Alvaro Macieira-Coelho, M.D.
Director at the French National Institute of Health (INSERM) in France; Author of numerous books on aging such as Biology of Aging: Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology, Cell Immortalization and Cancer and Aging. [04/17/05]
- George M.
Professor Emeritus of Pathology, University of
- Brian J. Morris, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Medical Sciences in the School of Medical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Sydney; has over 230 publications; research focusing on the alteration in genome-wide expression profiles during ageing of human cells. [10/116/05]
- S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D.
Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois; Co-author with Bruce Carnes of The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging. [04/21/05]
- Suresh Rattan, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Professor, Danish Centre for Molecular Gerontology, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Editor-in-Chief Biogerontology; Editor of Aging Interventions and Therapies; Research areas and expertise: cellular aging, hormesis (mild stress-mediated aging interventions); gerontogenes." [09/28/05]
- Robert J. Shmookler Reis, Ph.D.
Professor, Depts. of Geriatrics, Medicine, Biochemistry & Molec.Biol., and Pharmacology; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Career Health Scientist, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare Service. [09/28/05]
- Karl T. Riabowol, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Director of the Laboratory of Aging and Immortalization, University of Calgary; Member, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Aging Advisory Board; extensive publications on aging research. [04/17/05]
- Arlan G.
Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, The University of Texas Health
Science Center at San Antonio.[04/10/17]
- Michael R. Rose, Ph.D.
Professor in the
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the School of Biological
Sciences, University of California, Irvine; Author of Evolutionary Biology of Aging. [04/5/05]
- Stanley Shostak, Ph.D.
Department Biological Sciences,
University of Pittsburgh; Author Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy and a number of other aging research publications. [09/26/05]
- Rafal Smigrodzki, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Gencia Company; Charlottesville VA, publications on aging and genetics research [5/24/05]
- Michael D.
Founder of Geron Corporation; Director of Biotime, Inc., BioMarker
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the Life Extension Foundation; President of Advanced Cell Technology,
Inc.; Author of The Immortal Cell: One Scientist's Quest to Solve the Mystery of
Human Aging. [04/18/05]
- Prof. Jan Vijg
Principal investigator at the Functional Genomics of Aging research program which is located at the South Texas Center for Biology in Medicine at the Texas Research Park. It is part of the Sam and Ann Barshop Center for Longevity and Aging Studies. [04/21/05]
- Prof. Thomas von Zglinicki
Professor of Cellular Gerontology, University of Newcastle;
Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology, Newcastle General Hospital; extensive publications on aging and telomere research. [04/17/05]
Signatures From Additional Leading Scientists
- Nick Bostrom, Ph.D.
Director, Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University. [09/29/05]
- Daniel Crevier, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Former professor, McGill University, Université du Québec.; Founder: Coreco Inc.; Author, AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence. Basic Books. [09/29/05]
- Gregory Fahy, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Vice President; 21st Century Medicine, Inc.; Published a number of articles on organ perfusion, vitrification and cryopreservation. [06/11/05]
- Robert A. Freitas Jr., J.D.
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Manufacturing; Author of Nanomedicine and Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines. [10/01/05]
- Ben Goertzel, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Mathematics from Temple University; Chief Scientific Officer, Biomind LLC, creating AI-based software for the analysis of gene expression data. [04/27/05]
- Amara Graps, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany; Planetary scientist at the Institute of the Physics of Interplanetary Space in Rome, Italy; Published articles on astronomical dust physics and charging and scientific computing. [09/30/05]
- Robin Hanson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
- James J. Hughes, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies; author Citizen Cyborg; Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut. [04/29/05]
- Subhash C. Kak, Ph.D.
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. [09/30/05]
- James B. Lewis, Ph.D.
(Chemistry, Harvard) Senior Research Investigator (retired); Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute; Seattle, WA [09/29/05]
- Max More, Ph.D.
Founder, Extropy Institute; Author of the Proactionary Principle; Austin, TX [09/29/05]
- Brad F. Mellon, STM, Ph.D.
Chair of the Ethics Committee; Frederick Mennonite Community; Frederick, PA [09/29/09]
- Steve Omohundro, Ph.D.
(Physics, University of California at Berkeley) Past computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana; President, Self-Aware Systems [09/29/05]
- Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A.
Responsible for launching several satellite communications companies including Sirius and WorldSpace. Founder and CEO of United Therapeutics. Lead the International Bar Association's project to develop a draft Human Genome Treaty for the United Nations. Filed the first court motion on AI Legal Rights. [07/02/05]
- Sergey V. Sheleg, M.D., Ph.D.,
Chief Research Scientist, Alcor Life Extension Foundation; M.D. from the Belarus State Medical University and Ph.D. in Oncology from N.N. Alexandrov Research Institute of Oncology and Medical Radiology (Lesnoy, Belarus). More than 20 published papers in the fields of neuro-ocology, neuro-infectious diseases, brain anoxia, and molecular cell biology [09/30/05]
- Gregory Stock, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University; MBA from Harvard; Director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at UCLA’s School of Public Health; Author of Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future. [04/06/05]
- Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the University of Manitoba, Canada; Senior Scientist 21st Century Medicine, Inc.; Published a number of articles on medical physics, vitrification and cryopreservation. [04/23/05]
Publications on the Plasticity of Aging
- 2005 Advances
in understanding aging processes and their consequences are leading to the
development of therapies to slow or reverse adverse
changes formerly considered to be “normal” aging and processes that
underlie multiple age-related conditions. Estimating the effectiveness of
candidate aging therapies, whose effects on human aging may require many years
to determine, is a particular challenge. Evan C. Hadley, Edward G. Lakatta,
Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, Huber R. Warner, and Richard J. Hodes; Cell, Vol
120, 557-567, 25 February 2005.
2005 Mutations in genes
affecting endocrine signaling, stress responses, metabolism, and telomeres can
all increase the life spans of model organisms. The
Plasticity of Aging: Insights from Long-Lived Mutants. Cynthia Kenyon. Cell,
Vol 120, 449-460, 25 February 2005.
2004 Ames dwarf mice (Prop1df/df) and Little mice
(Ghrhrlit/lit) are used as models of delayed aging and show significant increases in lifespan (50% and 25%,
respectively) when compared with their wild-type siblings.
Amador-Noguez D, Yagi K, Venable S, Darlington G. Aging
Cell. 2004 Dec;3(6):423-41.
- 2004 In humans,
long-term calorie restriction is highly effective in reducing the risk for
atherosclerosis. Fontana L, Meyer TE, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Proc Natl Acad Sci
U S A. 2004 Apr 27;101(17):6659-63.
In RNAi-treated C.
elegans, when the reproductive systems is removed, they lived six times as long as normal. Whereas the mean
life-span of wild type was 20 days, these animals had mean life-spans of 124
days. Healthy animals with extreme longevity. Arantes-Oliveira N, Berman JR,
Kenyon C. Science. 2003 Oct 24;302(5645):611.
In yeast (S. cerevisiae),
overexpression of PNC1 extends the replicative life
span by 70% in a Sir2-dependent manner. Kevin J. Bitterman, Oliver
Medvedik, and David A. Sinclair; Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2003 September;
2003 In humans,
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare genetic disorder
characterized by features reminiscent of marked premature ageing. The
discovery of the molecular basis of this disease may shed light on the general
phenomenon of human ageing. Eriksson M, Brown WT, Gordon LB, Glynn MW, Singer
J, Scott L, Erdos MR, Robbins CM, Moses TY, Berglund P, Dutra A, Pak E, Durkin
S, Csoka AB, Boehnke M, Glover TW, Collins FS. Nature. 2003 May
postponement of aging – which we term "engineered negligible senescence" – may
be within sight. Given the major demographic consequences if it came about,
this possibility merits urgent debate. Time to Talk SENS: Critiquing the
Immutability of Human Aging; Aubrey D. N. J. de Grey, Bruce N. Ames, Julie K.
Andersen, Andrzej Bartke, Judith Campisi, Christopher B. Heward, Roger J. M.
McCarter and Gregory Stock; Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
mice with a combined deficiency of growth hormone (GH), prolactin, and
thyrotropin, and knockout mice with GH resistance, live longer than their
normal siblings. The extension of life span in these
animals is very large (up to 65%), reproducible, and not limited to any
particular genetic background or husbandry conditions. Bartke A, Coschigano K,
Kopchick J, Chandrashekar V, Mattison J, Kinney B, Hauck S. J Gerontol A Biol
Sci Med Sci. 2001 Aug;56(8):B340-9.
homozygous for loss-of-function mutations at the Pit1 (Snell dwarf) locus show
a >40% increase in mean and maximal longevity on
the relatively long-lived (C3H/HeJ x DW/J)F(1) background. Findings
demonstrate that a single gene can control maximum lifespan and the timing of
both cellular and extracellular senescence in a mammal. Flurkey K,
Papaconstantinou J, Miller RA, Harrison DE. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun
Drosophila, five independent P-element insertional mutations in a single gene
resulted in a near doubling of the average adult
life-span without a decline in fertility or physical activity. Rogina B, Reenan
RA, Nilsen SP, Helfand SL.; Science. 2000 Dec 15;290(5499):2137-40.
1999 In mice,
suppression of p66shc protein extends the life span by
30%. Migliaccio E, Giorgio M, Mele S, Pelicci G, Reboldi P, Pandolfi
PP, Lanfrancone L, Pelicci PG.; Nature. 1999
Low caloric intake (caloric
restriction) can lengthen the life span of a wide range of animals and
possibly even of humans. Specific mutations significantly lengthen life span by up to 50%. Lakowski B, Hekimi S.;
Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Oct 27;95(22):13091-6.
Drosophila, overexpression of a single gene, SOD1, in a single cell type, the
motorneuron, extends normal lifespan by up to 40%
and rescues the lifespan of a short-lived Sod null mutant. Parkes TL, Elia AJ,
Dickinson D, Hilliker AJ, Phillips JP, Boulianne GL.; Nat
Genet. 1998 Jun;19(2):171-4.
in the gene daf-2 can cause C. elegans to live more than
twice as long as wild type. Kenyon, C.J., Chang, Gensch, E., J. Rudner,
A. and Tabtiang, R.; Nature. 1993 Dec 2;366(6454):461-4.
Open Letter in Support of Aging Research
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