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Other researchers have also found some success pursuing similarly structured research programs. For example, late last year, the Buck Institute for Age Research received $25 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish a home for the "new scientific discipline of geroscience." The new field, and its research institute, are dedicated to proactively fighting aging with researchers from a dizzying array of fields.
In research that will first be presented on Friday at the conference, Methuselah-funded scientists will demonstrate a proof-of-concept experiment for using bacterial enzymes to fight atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. That's an idea that de Grey has been pushing for years.
Gandhi describing his critics,
1. they ignore you
2. then they laugh at you
3. then they fight you
4. then you win
The Fourth Stage of SENS and Aubrey deGrey
"In perhaps seven or eight years, we'll be able to take mice already in middle age and treble their lifespan just by giving them a whole bunch of therapies that rejuvenate them," de Grey said. "Gerontologists all over, even my most strident critics, will say yes, Aubrey de Grey is right."
Even as he imagines completing Gandhi's fourth step, de Grey always keeps his eye on the ultimate prize -- the day when the aging-as-disease meme reaches the tipping point necessary to funnel really big money into the field.
"The following day, Oprah Winfrey will be saying, aging is a disease and let's fix it right now," de Grey said.