Crypto’s top CEOs are playing a pivotal role in driving funding for longevity research and anti-ageing technology, a leading scientist has claimed.
Longevity Escape Velocity Foundation president Aubrey de Grey, shared his insights in a recent episode of Yahoo Finance’s The Crypto Mile.
De Grey highlighted the crypto community’s support for both non-profit initiatives and investment ventures in the longevity sector.
He said that influential figures like Hex’s Richard Heart, ethereum’s (ETH-USD) Vitalik Buterin, Coinbase’s (COIN) Brian Armstrong, and Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson are engaged in both non-profit initiatives and investment ventures within the longevity sector.
“Brian Armstrong, co-founder of Coinbase, created a company called New Limited, which he put north of $50m in to, and Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson has created an anti-ageing clinic in Wyoming,” de Gray added.
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The longevity scientist further noted that on the non-profit side of anti-ageing research, several donors from the cryptocurrency sector have contributed significantly.
“The biggest and most conspicuous example in that regard is the Hex community, the community of people who made their money out of the cryptocurrency called Hex, led by Richard Heart,” said De Grey.
“Richard had this wonderful idea a few years ago to encourage his flock to donate to the SENS Research Foundation, and that worked out very well to the tune of $27m.”
Investment from sovereign wealth funds and the private sector
According to a report, the longevity sector is experiencing increasing momentum and is projected to reach a market size of $44.2bn by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from 2021 to 2030.
Capital inflow into the field has surged, with notable contributions from individuals like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and substantial investments from sovereign wealth funds, particularly from the Middle East and Asia. De Grey pointed out that this influx of funding began around 2017 when private sector involvement was minimal, but it has grown exponentially in recent years.
De Grey underscored how sovereign wealth funds, especially from the Middle East and the Far East, have started to get involved. Saudi Arabia’s goal of investing $1bn annually, has created a ripple effect, inspiring other nations to follow suit.
No distinction between treating diseases and treating aging
De Grey advocated for a shift in the approach to ageing, stressing that the distinction between age-related diseases and aging itself lacks biological validity.
“I think that it’s extremely counterproductive that we have this tradition of distinguishing between so-called diseases of ageing, and so-called ageing itself. That distinction has no biological basis. There are just aspects of ageing that we give disease-like names to and aspects of aging that we don’t,” he added.
He emphasised the need for treatments that target multiple age-related conditions and praised the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the “Time Trial”, which tests the effectiveness of metformin against various age-related conditions.
“The trial hasn’t even begun yet because of funding difficulties,” he added. However, he emphasised the significance of the trial even being approved by the FDA in the first place.
Longevity evidence restricted to the laboratory
De Grey emphasised the current focus of longevity research, stating, “The evidence right now is nearly all restricted to the laboratory rather than the clinic, in other words, to laboratory animals rather than humans.”
He explained that researchers are increasingly shifting their attention to late-life interventions in animals, such as mice, when they are already well into their natural lifespan.
De Grey clarified the significance of this approach, noting, “In order to extend the lifespan of mice significantly, we must focus on rejuvenation. The amount we can achieve by merely slowing down aging in late life is relatively modest.”
He further elaborated on their strategies, saying, “We are combining various interventions in the same mice concurrently, with the hope of observing a much more substantial increase in both health and lifespan.”
De Grey addressed the widespread scepticism towards anti-aging research and a lingering fatalistic perspective on ageing. He coined it the “ageing trance,” explaining that people often object to the idea of extending the human lifespan, fearing potential adverse consequences.
He added, “They give utterly irrational objections to reasons for thinking that aging is over a blessing in disguise, such that if we fixed it, you know, things would be even worse somehow.”
De Grey highlighted another common belief, stating, “Or they think that it’s kind of woven into the fabric of the universe and it’s inevitable and, you know, universal. And there’s no way in the world that medicine could ever address it.”
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