Here’s a great project that needs more funding – Interventions Testing Program – a multi-institutional study investigating treatments with the potential to extend lifespan and delay disease and dysfunction in mice. The idea is simple and elegant: let’s test different kinds of drugs, chemicals, diets, etc. on mice and see whether they live longer and healthier. The study is carried out in three independent labs at the University of Michigan, the Jackson Laboratories, and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio.
One might think this kind of project should allow testing of dozens of different interventions every year for all the humanity to benefit from the results. Hell no! Guess how many compounds are tested early. 4-6, and not more. But we need 3000 minimum! Here’s the list for years 2004 – 2011. The grant description for 2013 states that
It is anticipated that 3-5 compounds will be accepted for study in 2014.
This means that there is very little money available at the NIA for this program. Direct costs of each application may not exceed $500,000 per year and applications may not request more than 5 years of funding. This is so sad, it’s one of the best and meaningful ways of how NIA spends its funding. I wish there will be more attention to the Intervention Testing Program, also more outside sponsors, because the more money there is for these experiments, the closer we are to drugs that slow aging down.