Methuselah mouse prize

Methuselah Foundation
Type 501(c)(3)
Founded 2000
Founder(s) Aubrey de Grey & David Gobel
Key people David Gobel, Roger Holzberg, Andrej Bartke, Craig Cooney
Area served Global
Focus(es) Life extension, rejuvenation
Method(s) My Bridge 4 Life, The Mprize, MLife Sciences
Motto Extending healthy human life

The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that studies methods of extending lifespan. It was co-founded by Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel, and is based in Springfield, Virginia, United States.[1] Activities of the foundation include My Bridge 4 Life, a community tool designed to help people deal with the different diseases of aging; the Mprize, a monetary prize given to anyone who efficiently rejuvenates and/or extends the healthy lifespan of mice, and various collaborative projects under the umbrella concept of MLife Sciences. The foundation takes its name from the Biblical character whose name is commonly used to refer to any living organism reaching great age.

Current projects

The Mprize

In 2003, de Grey and Gobel cofounded The Mprize (known then as the "Methuselah Mouse Prize"), an inducement prize contest designed to accelerate research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who extend the healthy lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. Regarding this, de Grey stated in March 2005, "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."[2] The prize has been covered in many news sources, including the BBC[3][4] and Fortune magazine.[5]

The foundation believes that if reversing of aging can be exhibited in mice, an enormous amount of funding would be made available for similar research in humans, potentially including a massive government project similar to the Human Genome Project, or by private for-profit companies.[6]

The prize reached $1.5 million (USD) in August 2005, $3 million in November 2005, and $4 million in December 2006.[7][8][9]

Prize structure and current record holders

The foundation currently awards the following two prizes:

  • A longevity prize for extending total lifespan
  • A rejuvenation prize focusing on intervention begun at older age

The general average lifespan of a normal mouse is 1.5 to 2 years. Whenever a record is broken, the researcher receives an amount based on the current size of the prize and the percentage by which they exceed the previously held record.[6]

The longevity prize allows any type of intervention, including breeding and genetic engineering; only a single mouse has to be presented. As of 2009, the record holder is a mouse whose growth hormone receptor had been genetically knocked out; it lived for 1819 days (almost 5 years).[10] The rejuvenation prize deals with peer-reviewed studies involving at least 40 animals, 20 treated and 20 control. Treatment may begin only at mid-life, and the average lifespan of the 10% longest living treated animals is used for the record. As of 2009, this record stands at 1356 days (about 3.7 years); the treatment was calorie restriction.[10]

Until November 2004, the foundation ran a reversal prize instead of the rejuvenation prize, with the following rules: the treatment of the mouse could be started at any age, and days before treatment had started were counted double. The winner was a mouse that did not receive any dietary or pharmacological treatment at all, just an enriched environment. The mouse lived for 1551 days (about 4.2 years).[11][12]

MLife Sciences

MLife Sciences is an umbrella concept for various collaborative projects in which the Methuselah Foundation participates.[13] One of them involves Organovo, Inc., a regenerative medicine company, with whom the Methuselah Foundation aims to be able to three-dimensionally print new organs and tissues from the patient's DNA.[14]

Historical projects

Undergraduate Research Initiative

First proposed in April 2008, The Methuselah Foundation Undergraduate Research Initiative (MFURI)[15] provided undergraduate college students in any academic discipline with the knowledge and logistical support to develop projects which contribute to the advocacy or support of the Methuselah Foundation or its mission of radically extending healthy human life. The MFURI provided students within the United States education system with the opportunity to receive college credits, scholarships, and recommendations for their efforts. Students from other countries were eligible to apply for many of the available scholarships. The MFURI project was administered by a team of volunteer supervisors and coordinators and received scholarship funding from the Methuselah Foundation.[16] As of March 2009, MFURI has stopped under the Methuselah Foundation's supervision and moved to SENS Foundation, where it goes under the name of "the undergraduate component of the SENS Foundation's Academic Initiative."[17]


The staff of the Methuselah Foundation:[18]

  • David Gobel, Chief Executive Officer
  • Roger Holzberg, Chief Marketing Officer / Creative Director
  • Andrzej Bartke, Co-chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mprize
  • Craig Cooney, Co-chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mprize

Donors and volunteers

On September 16, 2006, Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of the online payments system PayPal, announced that he is pledging $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation "to support scientific research into the alleviation and eventual reversal of the debilities caused by aging" (SENS research).[19] Justin Bonomo, professional poker player, has pledged 5% of his tournament winnings for SENS research.[20] On December 9, 2010, Jason Hope,[21] entrepreneur based in Scottsdale, AZ, pledged $500,000 donation.


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