Aging Research: The Biggest Bang for the Buck

Richard Miller, the leader of the National Institutes on Aging Intervention Testing Program, has the above image on his lab website to emphasize the importance of research into the biology of aging, and the potential for age and disease prevention drugs like rapamycin (vs. the traditional “sick care” model focus of the NIH and US national healthcare system, in which they wait for disease to happen, and only then work on the care / disease of the patient). If rapamycin proves to be as effective in humans as it has been in mice, it will be a bigger impact than curing cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. This is because, even if these cures were found, there are many other diseases that people would succumb to. By comparison the benefit of a preventative, age-slowing strategy such as may be possible with rapamycin, would delay all age-related diseases.

At Rapamycin News we believe the primary focus should be on prevention of disease (by slowing aging), and the data quite clearly show that this would provide the greatest benefit to the most people. Somehow the old adage of our grandparent’s age that “A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has been lost, and virtually all of the NIH budget of $49 Billion a year is spent on trying to identify that “cure”, while ignoring the role of prevention. This has to change as the global society ages.

The typical rapamycin user here pays perhaps $30 to $60 per month for their rapamycin (or approx. $7,000 to $14,000 for 20 years of rapamycin), and if the results seen in mice and other organisms transfers to humans then we can expect an additional 20 years of disease free healthspan and lifespan. Compare that to the $13,600 cost per day to stay in the typical US hospital and the economic benefits (to say nothing of the social benefits) are clear. If rapamycin keeps a person out of the hospital for just 1 day over 20 years, then the healthcare system as a whole is at break-even point. The potential for healthcare system savings of drugs like rapamycin is monumental given the annual national healthcare expenditures in the USA of $3,453 billion. The savings are even more immediately realizable in all the developed countries of the world that have national healthcare systems (Canada, Europe, Japan, etc. - every country other than the USA) because the single payer (the government) reaps the rewards/savings from disease prevention.

The National Institute on Aging sponsors the multi-institutional “Interventions Testing Program,” or ITP, to evaluate agents, such as drugs or nutriceuticals, that might slow aging and extend healthy lifespan in mice. The initial protocol focused on lifespan as the key endpoint. Agents that pass this screen are then evaluated in follow-up studies that include a wide range of age-sensitive tests, mid-life pathology, and ideas about mechanism of effect. More information about the program can be found here,including a list of drugs tested or in progress, links to tissues that can be provided for collaborations, and information about how to propose an intervention. Published work has documented major benefits from treatment with rapamycin, acarbose (males > females), and 17a-estradiol (males only), and smaller but significant benefits from three other agents (NDGA, Protandim, glycine).

For more information see: Drugs that Slow Aging (ITP)


Here’s my story about a recent hospital visit. I went to the ER a few weeks ago. I was there 3 or 4 hours. They gave me an IV to get some fluid into me. I had a CT scan and left with an antibiotic prescription. Never actually saw a doctor. So, how much was the uninsured price for all this? $37,700! Fortunately, I do have insurance (Medicare) and they approved charges of $1,243. My share due is around $250 which, after seeing the original charges, I’m thrilled to pay. The system is just mind boggling to me.


The anti-aging company most people have never heard of:

“One company that has embraced AI for drug design perhaps more than any other is Hong Kong-based Insilico Medicine, a startup that has raised more than $400 million in funding since its founding in 2014.”

“They’ve published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers and built a suite of tools that they and other companies use to search for treatments.”

"Insilico was founded by a scientist named Alex Zhavoronkov, whose mission is not just to cure individual diseases but to increase longevity. In October, he announced a longevity pledge to dedicate himself, body and wealth, to this end. He’ll give “everything I have now, and what I will get in the future, to only one cause—extending healthy productive longevity for all human beings,”

Insilico is the producer of Aging.Ai epigenetic age calculators. They have many top-notch scientists and a Nobel Laureate advisor on board. They seem to be focused exclusively on artificial intelligence to find new drugs. One thing they have is a huge cohort of human studies in their database. That is how they developed the calculators.


I invested. I later was told they are a fraud by an insider who has a strong opinion on them

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Funny… That was sort of my impression just based on superficial data… I admit a sf bay area bias, but the number of successful tech companies coming out of Hong Kong is extremely small, people quality issus, etc… But they seem to be getting some traction. Most of the contracts are pay for performance so we will see how the molecules do that they identify over the coming years. Its a long game for these types of platform plays.

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