In a move that will push the Methuselah Foundation’s M Prize over the $1 million mark, Dr. William Haseltine, biotech pioneer of Human Genome Sciences fame, has joined the Three Hundred, a group of individuals who pledge to donate $1000 per year to the M Prize for the next 25 years. “I am delighted that my decision to join the Three Hundred has pushed the prize fund over its first one million dollars, which I trust is only the first of many millions,” said Dr. Haseltine of his decision. “There’s nothing to compare with this effort, and it has already contributed significantly to the awareness that regenerative medicine is a near term reality, not an IF.”
Dr. William Haseltine’s stature as the father of regenerative medicine - for his research in the field of biomedical genomics - is matched by his reputation as a creative and successful businessman. His commitment to the prize speaks to both its scientific integrity and its viability as a model for encouraging research into the science of curing aging.
“The Methuselah Foundation’s M Prize has sparked the public’s interest in regenerative biomedicine,” said Dr. Haseltine. “Encouraging researchers to compete for the most dramatic advances in the science of slowing, even reversing aging, is a revolutionary new model that is making its mark.”
The Methuselah Foundation has in a very short time built up a strong base of support, relying largely on donations from individuals, most of them middle class, most of them outside academia. Structured on the dramatically successful Ansari X Prize for manned space flight, the M Prize is actually two prizes: the first, the Longevity Prize, will be awarded to the scientific research group that can most extend lifespan in a single mouse. The second, the Rejuvenation Prize, will be awarded to the scientist who can most sharply retard aging in a mouse, using interventions that are not initiated until middle age.
“That’s good news for those of us who are already alive,” says Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge biogerontologist and Chairman of the Methuselah Foundation. “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,” said de Grey. “The M Prize is a catalyst for research into this field. The defeat of aging is foreseeable, if we take the steps to make it happen.”