The SENS Foundation and supporters of radical life extension are turning to a social networking platform in an attempt to raise over $1 million for research. By the end of 2009 they hope to sign up 10,000 people committed to donating $100 each. The money raised will fund research on Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), an engineering approach to ending aging proposed and popularized by SENS Foundation Chief Science Officer Dr. Aubrey de Grey. As of November 28, 2009 the Facebook Cause – “Once we reach 10,000 members, every one of us will donate $100 to defeat aging!” – had 1350 members.
The online call to action comes several months after the SENS Foundation was spun off from the Methuselah Foundation, taking Dr. de Grey and the SENS research initiatives with it. The recent increase in mainstream media coverage of emerging technologies may benefit organizations like SENS Foundation seeking supporters using online platforms. Causes is an application built on top of the Facebook platform to take advantage of a user’s social graph and apply it to fundraising.
The SENS approach to life extension focuses on seven types of aging damage. Dr. de Grey theorizes that repairing this damage may enhance health and extend a person’s life just long enough for them to benefit from even more advanced anti-aging technologies expected to arrive in coming decades. SENS researchers are targeted these types of damage in their own Research Center and through partnerships with other research facilities. Accourding to their website, SENS Foundation in 2010 intends to ramp up their LysoSENS research initiative while pursuing “our work on atherosclerosis, immunosenescence, and macular degeneration.”
Will SENS work? While Dr. de Grey and other researchers support this particular approach, perhaps most important to the goal of ending aging is any research that can shine more light on aging. The SENS Foundation offers a more focused program than most and it is ideally situated to initiate research that is not currently being conducted elsewhere. Also promising are SENS Foundation’s adherence to scientific research methods and the credentials of the team gathered. The history of efforts to end aging is fraught with superstition, pseudoscience, and outrageous claims not backed up by compelling, peer-reviewed, and repeatable evidence. The SENS Foundation includes at all levels well-respected and experienced scientists as well as undergraduate and graduate students working on degrees in relevant fields.