Established in 2003 by the Methuselah Foundation, the Methuselah Mouse Prize (“M Prize”) is a cash award that recognizes excellence in the field of longevity research. It honors scientific teams that most dramatically prevent aging and lengthen life in the laboratory mouse known as Mus musculus. The Longevity Prize honors scientists who most extend life span in a single mouse, and the Rejuvenation Prize recognizes those who most sharply delay aging in a middle-aged mouse.
Stephen Spindler, PhD, a member of the Life Extension Foundation Scientific Advisory Board, received the first-ever Methuselah Mouse Rejuvenation Prize at the Gerontological Society of America conference in Washington, DC, on November 21, 2004. Chair of the department of biochemistry at the University of California Riverside, Dr. Spindler found that caloric restriction increased life span and substantially decreased age-related mortality in middle-aged mice. Deaths from tumors also declined in the same mice. Caloric restriction led to changes in gene expression that may account for its longevity-promoting effects. These findings suggest that pharmaceutical and other compounds may be able to mimic changes in gene expression induced by caloric restriction, and thus prolong life in a similar fashion. Dr. Spindler’s findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2004.*
“Caloric restriction works even in old animals to immediately extend life span and reduce the rate of tumor growth,” said Dr. Spindler. “We believe that therapies that reproduce the effects of caloric restriction on gene-expression biomarkers in humans may similarly reduce the incidence of age-related disease and extend life span.”
The nonprofit Methuselah Foundation is committed to defeating age-related disease and extending the healthy human life span. “We are very proud to honor Dr. Spindler and his main financial supporter, the Life Extension Foundation, for their historic and groundbreaking research,” said Methuselah Foundation Chairman and Chief Science Officer Dr. Aubrey de Grey. “The M Prize is meant to inspire and encourage this kind of serious scientific progress and innovation in extending the healthy human life span.”
Dr. de Grey, who was instrumental in establishing the prize, added, “If we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging. The M Prize is a catalyst for research into this field. The defeat of aging is foreseeable, if we take steps to make it happen.”
Methuselah Foundation Pres-ident David Gobel said the prize “is meant to inspire and encourage serious scientific progress and innovation in extending the healthy human life span. We believe the Methuselah Mouse Prize can effectively raise public optimism and enthusiasm about potential human application of successful life-extending interventions used on laboratory mice that have already reached an advanced age.”
The M Prize is funded entirely by private donations from in-dividuals and organizations supporting longevity research and innovation, including the X PRIZE Foundation, the Foresight Insti-tute, and the Life Extension Foundation. A recent donation from biotechnology pioneer Dr. William Haseltine brought the M Prize to the $1 million mark. For more information, please visit www.mprize.org.
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND