International Longevity Alliance (ILA) – Annual Report for 2013 – Roadmap for 2014
It has been only one year since the International Longevity Alliance (“ILA”) became consolidated in December 2012 at the Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging in Brussels. This is the first annual report of our progress since our inception.
The ILA’s mission is to to promote the advancement of healthy longevity for all people through scientific research, technological development, medical treatment, public health, education, advocacy and social activism. http://longevityalliance.org/manifesto/
In the past year, ILA has grown. ILA groups now exist in over 50 countries, with unofficial membership ranging in the thousands. It is on its way to official registration in France as a “Fonds de Dotation” (Endowment Fund) and will act as an alliance of pro-longevity non-profit organizations (“NPOs”) from around the world.
Officially affiliated groups already exist in Russia, France, India and Finland. Other national ILA NPOs are on their way to registration in Israel, Germany, Ukraine, Colombia, Canada, the United States and other countries. We anticipate that existing pro-longevity organizations will also join as federated members, so that by the end of 2014 ILA will become a well established network of formally registered NPOs, as well as informal groups and individuals around the world, united for the purpose of achieving healthy longevity for all.
One year ago, ILA published a roadmap of planned activities for 2013 in the fields of longevity science, education, and advocacy at both the grass-roots level and higher, delineating 18 projects. We have made progress on every one of them.
We are pleased to report on ILA activities during 2013 (in the order of their appearance in the original plan), and to present a roadmap for their continuation in 2014.
2013 Annual Report
1. Writing and Promoting Materials in Different Languages
The manifesto of the International Longevity Alliance has been translated into 18 languages http://longevityalliance.org/longevity-is-the-common-language/. Several national sites, directly associated with ILA, have been created to promote cooperation and exchange of knowledge in various national languages, including sites for Finland, Japan, Italy, Egypt, India, Israel (also longevityhistory.com),Colombia, France, and some integrated sites for national groups, such as Longevity Day. These sites are in addition to ILA’s main online platforms at:http://longevityalliance.org/ and http://www.denigma.de/.
A top priority for 2014 will be the further development of national sites in various languages, both in terms of IT infrastructure and content. These are vital to activating national and local pro-longevity groups, alongside other vital elements of activism such as local meetings.
2. A Merit-Based System
We plan to develop a formal system of awards. Some ranks and grades have been initiated on the Denigma platform for performing specific tasks and quests. Yet, the main award system emerged spontaneously. Whoever steps up to initiate or participate in a project gets to do it! We have formed our leadership core on this model. In time, we will develop online projects and activists management systems. Still, our main reward is knowing that we work to advance the cause of longevity for the benefit of mankind.
3. Activism: Meetings, Conferences, Longevity Day & Longevity Month
In 2013, ILA developed extensive on-line communications within the alliancehttp://longevityalliance.org/groups-supporting-longevity-research-in-different-countries/.
Live meetings and conferences have also been some of our strongest activities. This year, ILA organized two concerted worldwide pro-longevity actions. On March 1, 2013, International Future Day had longevity as its main theme, due to ILA’s initiative. The day involved meetings and publicity events in over 20 countrieshttp://longevityalliance.org/for-the-future-of-longevity/.
October 1, 2013, was the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, which ILA proposed to celebrate as International Longevity Day. On that day, events ranging from small meetings to large conferences took place in over 30 countries. http://longevityalliance.org/celebrations-of-the-international-longevity-day-around-the-world/
Also in 2013, ILA core activists helped to organize and/or strongly participated in scientific conferences and panels throughout the year, including: The 8th European Congress of Biogerontology, at Beer Sheva – Dead Sea, Israel, March 10-13; TedMed Live, Moscow, Russia, April 17-19; 20th IAGG World Congress on Gerontology and Geriatrics in Seoul, South Korea, June 23-27; Sixth Conference on Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS6), Cambridge, UK, September 3-7; Rostock Symposium on Systems Biology and Bioinformatics in Aging Research in Rostock, Germany, September 20-21; Radical Life Extension Conference, Washington DC, September 21; From Biology of Aging to Longevity and Quality of Life, Tel Aviv, Israel, October 1; International Istanbul Initiative on Aging, Istanbul, Turkey, October 3-7; Science Day Celebrations, Kiev, Ukraine, November 10, and more.
For 2014, we plan even more conferences and coordinated international actions. We proposed to focus less on Longevity Day (though it can still be mentioned), and rather will introduce and focus on an entire Longevity Month (probably October). A Longevity Month will have the same organizing and motivating power as Longevity Day, but with greater flexibility, allowing for more events in more places over a longer time period, with greater opportunities for media coverage and public recognition.
We plan to commence Longevity Month on October 1-3, 2014, kicking off at the Heales conference in Brussels – the Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging, an extension of the original conference where many ILA charter members first met in 2012. We envision this gathering of life extension activists from around the world as a seminal International Longevity Summit to coordinate and plan together for the forthcoming month and year, after which participants will return home to organize their own local events, taking care to engage the media in advance.
Other Events: The ILA and its collaborators will also plan, organize and promote other conferences throughout 2014, including:
India: On June 10-13, 2014, core ILA activists will be organizing a symposium at the 12th Global Conference on Ageing, in Hyderabad, India, entitled “The Aging Process as the Main Underlying Cause of Non-communicable Diseases: Science and Policy”. Through this panel, we hope to raise interest in the subject of healthy longevity in India and elsewhere.
Germany: ILA activists will also play a key part in the roundtable Discussion on Healthy Aging taking place at the Hauptstadtkongress 2014, the main German healthcare-related event, in Berlin on June 27, 2014, in a session entitled “Am Puls der Zeit: Regeneration und Verlangsamung des Alterungsprozesses in der Welt von Übermorgen” (On the Pulse of Time: Regeneration and Inhibition of Aging Processes in the World of Tomorrow).
Israel: ILA members plan to produce a special issue of the life-extensionist magazine “Hava Lehaba” (“Let us live from now on”) dedicated to scientific and social aspects of life extension, possibly involving a call for papers/essay competition at both humanitarian and scientific university departments, and ending with a large conference in honor of the issue, with invitations of dignitaries and media. It is planned to take place in July.
Throughout 2014, ILA will also promote events related to longevity research organized by our friends, including: Transhuman Visions in San Francisco, USA (planned for February), the Alianza Futurista summit in Spain (planned for March), the International Conference on Genetics of Aging and Longevity in Sochi, Russia (planned for April), New Applications of Aging Research in Switzerland (planned for September), and the Transvision Conference in France (planned for November).
We will also encourage continuous smaller events, meetings and seminars throughout the year and throughout the world. We invite local activists to organize such events.
4. Information: Collection, Exchange & Distribution of Information on Longevity
Denigma (denigma.de) has become the main platform for information collection and exchange. The Lifespan App on Denigma, which systematically maps determinants that prolong (or limit) lifespan in a variety of models, has become the main repository of information on longevity and life extension. It contains information from a variety of sources: Studies, Experiments, Measurements, Comparisons,Factors, Variants, and Interventions extending the lifespan.
5. Collaborative Project Management
ILA has created an informational database that identifies aging and longevity researchers and research centers and provides linking tools to help newcomers and specialists navigate the field. Automated project management has been initiated and will be further developed in 2014 to allow interested persons to learn about and join particular projects of ILA and its collaborators.
6. Creation of Educational Platforms on Longevity
ILA has initiated an extensive online course on longevity research, entitled “Biogerontology 101”, which will include sections on the biological, computational and social aspects of aging and longevity research. It will contribute to advancements that can lead to healthy lifespan extension in a variety of forms. It will help train future promoters, programmers, experimentalists and advocates for longevity research. The course curriculum is being developed and funding is sought. We project that the course will launch in mid-2014. The format can be easily replicated in several languages. Shorter presentations based on the course, covering various topics of longevity research and advocacy, may be provided to activists to help them organize local seminars and workshops.
7. “Linking Researchers” Project: Facilitating Interactions
ILA hosts an ongoing Skype meeting: “Longevity 24/7”. We are testing a variety of video chat platforms for ongoing online communication, and we are developing a video chat on the Denigma platform.
8. The Denigma Project
Denigma (Deciphering the Enigma of Aging), based on the Linux open-source operating system, is the main ILA IT platform to collect, hold and distribute information. In 2013, the platform was extensively developed. Deliverables produced during this year include: the building of Denigma Legacy: denigma.de; Longevity Variant Database: longevitydb.org; Denigma Destiny: denigma.org. We have used the platform to establish molecular profiles on ageing and powerful biomarkers to accurately measure biological age and effect of anti-aging interventions (focusing on genetic targets and functional prediction on miRNAs). We have used it to analyze aging-suppressor gene activity measurements (data analysis to link levels with phenotype); to reveal the role of mitochondrial heteroplasmy and metabolic influence (link levels with phenotype); to validate the role of aging as the main cause of diseases. We have provided exact descriptions of the individual influences of aging hallmarks and created hundreds of ontologies and linked annotated data on aging.
In the next year, this work will continue and, with sufficient support, this platform can become the central global hub of knowledge, tools and communications for research on aging and longevity.
9. The “Longevity Multimedia” Project
ILA has initiated several projects enabling people to visualize aspects of longevity research, including: visualization of various aging processes: denigma.de/data/entry/graph-visualization; and the Lifespan Application, the core of the Lifespan Repository, devoted to visualizing lifespan experimental data denigma.de/lifespan/. We are also developing methods for viewing gene interaction denigma.de/data/entry/deciphering-aging and protein structuredenigma.de/lifespan/factor/Trp53/. We will develop additional visual interactive tools in the coming year.
A newsletter has not been developed as originally planned. Rather, ILA maintains a regular news blog at longevityalliance.org. A newsletter may be created at a later date. Newsletters in various national languages may be of particular value where information is scarce. An important task will be the creation of popular and attractive content on longevity research and advocacy in multiple languages for diverse audiences. Writers and promoters of such content will be sought.
11. The Longevity Alliance Logo
After many deliberations and contests, the International Longevity Alliance logo has been chosen. Special thanks to members of the Colombian Longevity Alliance and Italian Longevity Alliance for their joint work in conceptualizing and creating the logo. Following the decision on the logo, a special group “Longevity Art” was established to encourage the creation of new art works to help visualize, draw attention to and spread the concept of Longevity Advocacy in the public.
12. Age In Vivo Project: Animal Lifespan Tests
ILA is initiating projects to test life-extending interventions in mice, other domestic animals and simpler organisms using both academic and do-it-yourself biology platforms. In 2013, we initiated a project on life-span extension in mice in cooperation with the Institute of Gerontology in Kiev, Ukraine. Test protocols have been developed for potential anti-aging drugs, as well as a plasma test for pathologies. Logistic procedures have been established. The do-it-yourself biology platform has been further strengthened to encourage testing life-extending interventions in rats and hamsters at home.
A top priority for 2014 will be to establish a screening project to test lifespan-extending interventions in mice. Funding for this large screening project will be actively sought in 2014.
13. Quantified Health: Collecting & Analyzing Information on Healthy Human Longevity
The French chapter of ILA (“Longévité & Santé” – “Longevity and Health”) leads this project. It has established possible ways to create e-cohort epidemiological studies of healthy longevity indicators. The goal is to employ citizen science to prevent age-related health decline. An overview of current progress can be seen atsceauxlongevitesante.org/deacutemonstrateur-citadin-de-preacutevention.html. Quantified Health approach and designs were discussed at several events in France: on October 5th sceauxlongevitesante.org/longevity-day-france-2013.html and December 17th: meetup.com/QSParis/events/150469852/.
In addition, ILA core members in Israel have been using information-theoretical analysis to investigate the role of various diagnostic parameters in relation to age-related diseases. Core members in Spain have been analyzing nutritional interventions for healthy longevity. Several core members (chiefly from France, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, UK, Belgium, Israel) formed a Commitment to Action Plan within the EC European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Aging (EIP-AHA), entitled “QuantifiedHealth”, aimed at “developing a web intelligence platform for citizens to voluntarily and anonymously share health and lifestyle data via quantitative self principles and to receive personalized health advice for a longer and healthier life via an intelligent online assistant.” In addition, a sub-group was formed within the European Commission Action Plan A3: “Action for Prevention of Functional Decline and Frailty”, entitled “Functional Increase”, aimed at maintaining, restoring and improving functional capacity of the aged.
14. Longevity Media Team
The Longevity Media Team has been initiated, with core representation from the Canadian Longevity Alliance, and also involving members from the UK, US and other countries. The purpose of this team is to facilitate the creation of postings and news on longevity research in the media (both mass media and social media), actively pushing for the public visibility of the topic.
During 2013, we had good and fruitful cooperation with friendly life extensionist media. One of the successful media actions was the “Hangout on Air: Projects to Accelerate Radical Healthy Longevity”. ILA published articles in Fight Aging, Humanity+ Magazine, IEET, Transhumanity.net, Brighter Brains, and other journals. We have also had success in mass media, especially during the Future Day and Longevity Day, notably in Russia, Israel and Belgium, including newspapers, radio and TV presentations.
In 2014, we hope to further break through to the mass media. We will make a systematic effort to pursue media outreach, establish a database of potential media venues and contacts with media representatives, actively promote press releases, and develop “stories” to be presented. We also plan to publish several books (original and translations) to increase the visibility of the subject of longevity research. We will further strengthen our publications in social media.
15. Grant Writing
In 2013, ILA submitted several grant proposals for developing ILA and its IT infrastructure. Applications included: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Winnovation Foundation in Israel; UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Two recent proposals were to establish a research group on Basic Formal Gerontology, within the EC Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) framework, that involved 40 participants from 17 countries, and a proposal for the development of Healthy Longevity Alliance (COST proposal), involving 23 participants from 14 countries. In 2014 we will further apply to a variety of funding agencies.
In 2013, ILA conducted a successful crowdfunding campaign to support lifespan extension experiments in mice at the Chebotarev Institute of Gerontology of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine. The campaign entitled “I am a little mouse and I want to live longer” has been a success with over $20,000 collected. Thanks to all the donors, and special thanks to the SENS Research Foundation and the Methuselah Foundation for their generous participation!indiegogo.com/projects/i-am-a-little-mouse-and-i-want-to-live-longer
ILA will pursue more opportunities for crowdfunding and other innovative funding in 2014.
17. International Lobbying for Aging and Longevity Research
ILA has created a special team for legal support of longevity research. The team will analyze the regulatory framework for aging and longevity research and propose ways to promote our cause. Several high-level contacts have been established. Proposals for laws in support of aging and longevity research, initiated earlier, were further promoted in 2013 by people directly associated with ILA in Israel, Ukraine and South Korea.
Such proposals can be replicated in many other places and further advanced.
Several such petitions have been gathered at Longevity Intelligence Communications.
In 2014, we will continue our advocacy efforts, from grass roots to higher levels.
18. Effort to Cure Diseases of Aging
Early in 2013, a special project was initiated to help fund treatment for a prominent biogerontologist, Dr. Stephen Coles, head of the UCLA Gerontology Research Grouphttp://longevityalliance.org/help-save-dr-stephen-coles/. We are pleased to report that Dr. Coles’ condition has improved for reasons apparently unrelated to our efforts. We are proud to have participated in his search for treatment, a model action combining communal, humanitarian and scientific aspects. In 2014, ILA will continue to initiate actions involving those components.
Roadmap for 2014
For 2014, it was decided to restructure the ILA roadmap to organize activities into four main categories, into which all the performed and planned activities mentioned above neatly fall. These categories will be included in the ILA bylaws.
The four main categories will be:
1) Modeling – Developing IT platforms for collecting, formalizing, structuring and exchanging knowledge regarding aging and lifespan extension, in order to systematize, plan and prioritize various approaches for the extension of healthy human lifespan for the entire global population.
2) Testing – Promoting and performing scientific testing for lifespan extension; creating sets of rules and methodologies to test interventions related to potential lifespan increase. We will aim to facilitate high standards and best practices in longevity research and support open-access citizen science for longevity research.
3) Education – Offering instruction for both the general public and specialists regarding the biology of aging and lifespan extension; promoting studies regarding these topics for the general public, researchers, medical professionals, journalists and decision makers.
4) Advocacy — Offering policy recommendations in accordance to ILA’s objectives and promoting them to the general public and to policy makers at the national and international levels where appropriate according to national/international legislation; building up a supporting community to promote longevity research, a community which would embrace a wide spectrum of social categories and geographical areas.
These areas of activity, reorganized, can be effectively abbreviated as TEAM.
Our mission: To promote the advancement of healthy longevity for all people through scientific research, technological development, medical treatment, public health, education, advocacy and social activism.
Our main tasks for 2014 and on: To create an effective world-wide infrastructure for networking and collaboration of longevity researchers and activists and to create the widest possible integration, coordination and dissemination of knowledge in the field of healthy longevity.
Specific projects will include:
Developing the Denigma platform into a central global hub of knowledge, tools and communications for research on aging and longevity.
Developing automated activists and project management system.
Establishing a screening project to test lifespan-extending interventions in mice. A thorough and well-selected screening of potential life-extension techniques could achieve in a few years what traditional research would achieve in many decades.
Creating a database and analytical tools on healthy human longevity.
Further developing national sites and portals in various languages, both in terms of IT infrastructure and content.
Organizing the “Longevity Month” in October, starting with the International Longevity Summit in Brussels, and continuing to local events.
Organizing, promoting and participating in large scientific and activist conferences, including India (June 10-13), Germany (June 27), Israel (July) and more.
Encouraging continuous smaller events, meetings and seminars throughout the year and throughout the world.
Seeking funding for longevity research.
Developing ideas for crowd-funding and other innovative funding sources.
Developing a course on longevity research.
Continuing our advocacy efforts, from grass roots to higher levels, including petitions, law proposals, developing legal infrastructure to facilitate longevity research.
Pursuing media outreach, establishing a database of potential media venues and contacts with media representatives, actively promoting press releases.
Publishing books (original and translations) increasing the visibility of longevity research.
Strengthening publications in social media.
Registering pro-longevity NPOs in several countries.
Looking forward to an active and productive 2014 for the sake of achieving healthy longevity for all!
International Longevity Alliance
Ilia Stambler is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Aging (CMRA), of Beer Sheva University, Israel. Ilia received his PhD degree at the Department of Science, Technology and Society, at Bar-Ilan University. His thesis subject, and his main interest, is the History of Life-extensionism in the 20th Century. He speaks Hebrew, English, Russian, and Yiddish. He is an activist for life-extension research.
This post originally appeared here: http://longevityalliance.org/international-longevity-alliance-ila-annual-report-for-2013-roadmap-for-2014/