Author: Lindsay Clarke
Date: December 1st, 2011
New Competition from the X Prize Foundation Aimed at the Genomes of Centenarians
The Archon Genomics X Prize Presented by medco® offers $10 million to the first team of researchers that can quickly and affordably sequence 100 genomes—of people at least 100 years old that is!
While the primary goal of the prize is to spur the development of rapid and cheap sequencing technologies—thereby removing a major barrier to personalized medicine—the prize is also expected to provide major insights into what makes some people live long and healthy lives without succumbing to the diseases of aging that most of us will face in our lifetimes. Access to the lifestyle secrets of these centenarians—do they drink red wine everyday or only cook with olive oil?—and their DNA, would enable researchers to uncover protective benefits that their genes provide. This could lead to the development of drugs that would give everybody the same benefits that these centenarians get from their genes. It could also lead to major insights into the processes of aging and age-related disease. Understanding these basic processes could ultimately lead to breakthroughs and interventions that would increase health in later life by opposing the primary risk factor for virtually every disease we face as we grow older—aging itself. Better understanding of this “common denominator” of disease could usher in an era of preventive medicine, enabling interventions that stave off everything from dementia to cancer to osteoporosis. The X Prize is all about aiming high and tackling critical issues that face our society. With the baby boomer generation bringing a Silver Tsunami of age-related disease and disability to our nation, there’s no doubt this is a critical issue for our generation and those to come. Find out what the Alliance for Aging Research and our strategic partners are doing to further boost the field of aging research. Just as the X Prize recognizes that the prize money is an investment that will yield even larger returns, the supporters (including close to 70 leading scientists) of The Healthspan Campaign believe that few areas of research offer greater potential returns for public health than the field of aging research.