$70m collaboration to redefine aging research

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Astera Institute and Buck Institute announce $70 million collaboration to redefine the field of research on aging.

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Astera Institute today announced a comprehensive, multi-omics study of the biological effects of longevity interventions – The Rejuvenome Project. Through a series of large-scale lifespan studies in genetically diverse mice, researchers will test interventions, both alone and in combination, known or suspected to impede or reverse aging and extend longevity.

Longevity.Technology: This is longevity research at its most exciting; a ground-breaking study seeking to fully characterise aging and validate optimal longevity intervention combinations for extending lifespan. Go big, as they say, or go home, and this is research supersized. And, even better, it’s democratised research, with datasets made available to institutions and organisations, fostering further collaboration and building an ever-growing picture of the effects and ramifications of aging interventions – co-operation rather than competition will be greatly to the benefit of antiaging research.

The work aims to create an open and comprehensive dataset to better understand the biology of aging and the underlying mechanisms of how to potentially impede the aging process. This dataset, which will be freely accessible to the research and drug discovery communities, will provide the most complete picture of the impact of aging interventions in mice across multiple biomarkers and clinically relevant phenotypes. Leading scientists and thought leaders across the field will participate in the selection and design of the interventions.

Research on aging is at a critical inflection point, with breakthroughs in basic science and multiple compounds being tested in clinical trials. While the field is starting to have tools and treatments that target the biology of aging and improve health, a deep and fundamental understanding of how they work, and the models used to validate such findings, is still lacking. Further, because of vision, funding constraints, infrastructure limitations and other impediments, smaller projects are conducted independently of each other and there is little to no research into combination therapies, even though this will likely be the only avenue to achieving meaningful results.

“The Rejuvenome Project was launched to target these bottlenecks,” says Nicholas Schaum, PhD, Scientific Director of Rejuvenome. “We hope to do that by characterizing treatments and regimens, both established and newly invented, for which we have reason to believe improve health and longevity.”

“The breadth and depth of this project centered around an unprecedentedly extensive and deep whole-body functional and multi-omic assay panel has the potential to redefine scientific understanding of how to best intervene in the aging process,” says Eric Verdin, MD, President and CEO of the Buck Institute. “We are delighted to partner with Astera on this very significant work.”

The Rejuvenome Project is expected to take approximately seven years to complete. All wet lab operations will be centered at the Buck while the dry lab computational aspects of the project will reside at the Astera Institute in Berkeley. “The Rejuvenome is the quintessential moonshot project in longevity,” says Astera’s founder Jed McCaleb. “If we are successful it will provide the most complete picture ever of how best to intervene in aging and will produce powerful new avenues for drug development.”

Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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