Zuckerberg, Brin join forces to extend life

Feb 20, 2013
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference at the San Francisco Design Center in San Francisco on September 22, 2011 in California. Famed founders of Internet rivals Google and Facebook joined forces on Wednesday to back big-money prizes for research aimed at extending human life.

Famed founders of Internet rivals Google and Facebook joined forces on Wednesday to back big-money prizes for research aimed at extending human life.

and Mark Zuckerberg, along with their spouses, joined Russian Yuri Milner to award 11 scientists $3 million each to launch the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

"Priscilla and I are honored to be part of this," Zuckerberg said.

"We believe the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has the potential to provide a platform for other models of philanthropy, so people everywhere have an opportunity at a better future."

Art Levinson, who chairs boards at mobile device powerhouse Apple and biotechnology star Genentech, will head the non-profit foundation created to support breakthrough research.

Levinson said he believes the prize will spotlight outstanding minds in medicine and hopes it will help enhance medical innovation.

Zuckerberg, Milner, and Brin's wife Anne Wojcicki will be on the foundation's board of directors. They have agreed that going forward, five annual Breakthrough prizes of $3 million each will be awarded.

"We are thrilled to support scientists who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives," said Wojcicki, co-founder of startup , which provides personal services.

"These scientists should be household names and heroes in society."

Brin remarked that "curing a disease should be worth more than a touchdown" in an apparent reference to riches heaped on professional athletes such as those who play US football.

This year's Breakthrough Prize winners, many of whom targeted cancer in their research, agreed to serve on a committee to select future honorees.

"Solving the enormous complexity of human diseases calls for a much bigger effort compared to and therefore requires multiple sponsors to reward outstanding achievements," Milner said of the Silicon Valley heavyweights teaming up to back the award.

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User comments : 14

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nanotech_republika_pl
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 20, 2013
Finally! I thought Zuckerberg will never get interested in life-extension funding. de Grey may eventually find in him the billionaire to get the funding for his break-through anti-aging research.

It would appear that old and really old billionaires would be interested in anti-aging research when they have just few years before they die. Somehow, it takes the young ones to sponsor such research.
Shakescene21
5 / 5 (3) Feb 20, 2013
@ Nanotech

Good point. I think the old billionaires (ie, Warren Buffet) don't know much science, so they assume that the disabilities of aging are inevitable. These younger billionaires are science geeks who see Altzheimers, arthritis, muscle frailty, conjunctive heart failure, etc. as human tragedies that can be overcome by science.
dougie_fresh_007
4 / 5 (8) Feb 20, 2013
"These scientists should be household names and heroes in society." Brin remarked that "curing a disease should be worth more than a touchdown" in an apparent reference to riches heaped on professional athletes such as those who play US football.


I couldn't agree more

ChangBroot
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 20, 2013
Aren't we suffering enough to live longer and suffer more? Although I do support research to cure diseases, but I don't believe that life could be extended. To increase human life is to increase our cells' lives, and to increase cells' lives is to modify cell structures which will lead to freak humans. It's EXTREMELY complicated and will take at least a MILLENNIUM to decode all the mysteries of the cell.

Also, don't be fooled by the so called "Charity," by these bubble billionaires. First, behind each charity is a self-serving interest (such as tax fraud, interest relief etc). Second, about 90% of the money will go an organization and its employees, while only ABOUT 10% will go towards the cause.
dan42day
2 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2013
Good point. I think the old billionaires (ie, Warren Buffet) don't know much science, so they assume that the disabilities of aging are inevitable.


How do you know that Buffet, Gates, and Allen don't have a secret laboratory stashed somewhere that would make Dr. Moreau green with envy?

Actually, I think the old farts know that they don't have enough time left to make it work.
Trenchant
3 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2013
This has nothing to do with indirect marketing to raise stock prices for financial gain.
hjbasutu
1 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2013
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." Genesis 6:3....for the believer's eyes only.
Negative
4 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2013
yeees, hjbatsu, permanently predictable... but what you cite here is an afterthought of god, for "And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters." - Genesis 5:26.

so who are you to prohibit further changes of god's mind?

i wonder if "the believer" shall refuse the life-prolonging treatment, if it ever comes to that...
JRi
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
What are people going to do with all the babies if religions forbid contraceptives, yet people will have endless time to have sex. Humans will soon bypass insects as most numerous animals on earth.
hjbasutu
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2013
yeees, hjbatsu, permanently predictable... but what you cite here is an afterthought of god, for "And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters." - Genesis 5:26.

so who are you to prohibit further changes of god's mind?

i wonder if "the believer" shall refuse the life-prolonging treatment, if it ever comes to that...


You are probably right Negative ...but i was just quoting the bible and not prohibiting further changes of God's mind.dont be emotional Negative..or you will be filled with negativity.

Shakescene21
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
What are people going to do with all the babies ...?


@JRi -- This initiative is to extend human life chiefly by eliminaing old-age diseases and infirmities. This would only help people once they are 60 years old. Old people are beyond their reproductive years and thus are not making babies.
The result would be more healthy old people but no increase in the number of babies born.
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
Hopefully one of those grants will go to Vladimir Skulachev, a biochemist in Moscow who is about to release his invention to the public. It is SkQ1, a novel mitochondrial protectant, that will mitigate the decline of the energy factories of our cells. His SkQ1 may not double our lifespan, but it could increase the quality of our latter years, making a long life worth living.
Shakescene21
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
@Telekinetic -- In the future, anyone can nominate anyone for the $3 million grants. I recommend that you nominate Mr. Skulachev. There is some amazing research here on Physorg, and I will probably nominate at least one researcher in the coming year.
Moebius
not rated yet Feb 23, 2013
It's about time one of these multi-billionairs put some money in something worthwhile instead of wasting it like Gates does. I believe immortality is not only possible but it will solve many of our issues with population growth and ecology and even financial. I think we will know almost everything there is to know about biology by the end of this century.