‘It has to happen’: Tech titans pour billions into anti-aging research — yet overlook promising metformin trial – Genetic Literacy Project

Beating back the diseases of aging has become something of a pet project for many of Silicon Valley’s tech titans. Earlier this year, Altos Labs, a partial cellular reprogramming company, drew billions of dollars of investment, including from Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner. 

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But many researchers in the field of longevity science say there’s one project they wish these billionaires could find a little pocket change to fund: Nir Barzilai’s TAME Trial.

In 2013, he and two other researchers got a grant from the National Institutes of Aging to develop a roadmap to conduct, for the first time in history, a clinical trial that targets aging. They planned to test metformin, a drug that had been approved in the ’90s for treating diabetes, and that was shown in epidemiological studies to prevent against conditions like heart attacks, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. It also turned out to be very safe, with few, generally mild side effects. And it’s dirt cheap: just six cents per dose.

“I’m on the record saying I’m pretty sure it will start this year, for the last seven years,” said Barzilai. “I have no credibility anymore. It’s just incredibly frustrating. But it’s going to happen, because it has to happen.”

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