$1 Million Prize Seeks to Keep People Young

A hedge fund manager from Palo Alto has launched a $1 million contest in the hopes of finding the fountain of youth.
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A hedge fund manager from Palo Alto has launched a $1 million contest in the hopes of finding the fountain of youth.
joon yun

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Longevity Prize

Scientists from all over the world have been invited to enter a $1 million contest in the hopes of finding a way to effectively end the aging process. The Palo Alto Longevity Prize was launched by Joon Yun, a physician and hedge fund manager. Each team is asked to pursue two longevity-increasing objectives, each worth $500,000. They have a deadline of September 2018.

One of the goals for each team is to extend the lifespan of a "reference mammal" by 50 percent. As Vice notes, mice are the most popular mammals for such experiments, so teams would have to find ways to make the rodents live to the age of four and a half years, as their average lifespan is three years.

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Longevity Prize

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Longevity Prize

Each team also has to show the restoration of homeostatic capacity, which is the way organisms keep body temperature stable and blood pressure regular, for example. Over years, this capability wears off and is almost completely lost in the elderly. By restoring homeostatic capacity, researchers would basically be able to allow individuals to live "young" for a longer period of time. The winning team is expected to “restore homeostatic capacity (using heart rate variability as the surrogate measure) of an aging reference mammal to that of a young adult.”

The teams involved are all taking their own course of action. Some believe the answers lie in organs like the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, some are targeting inflammation and others are looking into stem cells. One team is looking to manipulate genes.

Yun will be awarding the million dollar prize from his own pocket. He hopes the competition will get more researchers interested in homeostasis restoration, while also sparking interest in potential investors. 

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