Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Mprize - Longevity and Rejuvenation research

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The Mprize competition is designed to encourage and advance longevity and rejuvenation research, marshaling the widest array of resources and using the broadest spectrum of biological techniques available. In addition to  its direct effects on accelerating the development life extension therapies, the Mprize is designed to capture the imagination of the public, providing ever more powerful evidence that we can healthy lifespan: that biological aging aging is a tractable biomedical challenge.

The Mprize consists of two separate prize competitions:
  1. The Longevity Prize, awarded for the oldest-ever Mus musculus;
  2. The Rejuvenation Prize, awarded for the best-ever late-onset intervention.
In the competition for the Longevity Prize, money is awarded to the producer of the world’s oldest ever mouse. This is restricted to the species used in virtually all laboratory work, Mus musculus, but no other restrictions should be placed on the way in which the mouse's lifespan is extended, provided that the methods used maintain cognitive and physical wellbeing.

The Rejuvenation Prize rewards successful late-onset interventions performed on an aged mouse and has been instituted to satisfy two shortcomings of the Longevity Prize: first, it is of limited scientific value to focus on a single mouse (a statistical outlier); and second, it is very likely that interventions applied throughout life (as they are during Longevity Prize research) will always be ahead of those initiated late, and thus would have an ongoing advantage in a simple competition structure. Our most important end goal is not merely to extend life, but to promote the development of interventions that restore youthful physiology. By seeking interventions that are effective when initiated at a late age, this prize encourages scientific research that is most likely to benefit those reading these guidelines today.


A fund exists to provide the money for the Longevity and Rejuvenation prizes. This fund is open to contributions from anyone; donors can contribute to either or both prizes as they see fit. In addition, donors of amounts exceeding US$25,000 can choose to make their donation up front or as a pledge.

Longevity Prize

The Longevity Prize is won whenever the world record lifespan for a mouse of the species most commonly used in scientific work, Mus musculus, is exceeded.

The amount won by a winner of the Longevity Prize is in proportion to the size of the fund at that time, but also in proportion to the margin by which the previous record is broken. The precise formula is:

Previous record: X days
New record: X+Y days
Longevity Prize fund contains: $Z at noon GMT on day of death of record-breaker
Winner receives: $Z x (Y/(X+Y))

Thus, hypothetically, if the new record is twice the previous one, the winner receives half the fund. If the new record is 10% more than the old one, the winner receives 1/11 of the fund, and so on. The fund can thus never be exhausted, and the incentive to break the new record remains intact indefinitely. This is very different from a structure that specifies a particular mouse age at which the whole fund is awarded. We believe this to be a very important difference: public attention will be best engaged and maintained by a steady stream of record-breaking events that demonstrate how scientists are taking progressively better control of the aging process.

The developers of a record-breaking intervention will receive prize money every week from the point at which their oldest living mouse beat the previous record. The amount paid each week will be calculated as though their mouse had just died, and the total amount won so far by a living record-breaker will be prominently displayed on the Mprize web site.

Rejuvenation Prize
  1. The Rejuvenation Prize is not awarded for the life extension of an individual mouse but for a published, peer-reviewed study. The study must satisfy the following criteria:
    1. The treated and control groups must have consisted of at least 20 mice each.
    2. The intervention must have commenced at an age at least half of the eventual mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the control group.
    3. The treated mice must have been assessed for at least five different markers that change significantly with age in the controls, and there must be a statistically significant reversal in the trajectory of those five markers in the treated mice at some time after treatment began versus some time before it began. The experimenters select the comparison times, both before and after. It is acceptable for other markers to fail to show this reversal.
  2. The record that the next winner must beat is the mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the treated group.
Conveniently, the Rejuvenation Prize does not require the same rigorous validation procedures as the Longevity Prize, because the age involved is defined to be that reported in the publication of the study.

The amount won by a successful new Rejuvenation Prize record is calculated in the same way as for the Longevity Prize, but is only awarded upon publication of the study in question. Just as for the Longevity Prize, if the new record – the mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the treated group - is twice the previous one, the winner receives half the fund. Or if the new record is 10% more than the old one, the winner receives 1/11 of the fund, etc.

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