With your input here in the community, at the lab and in two surveys, XPRIZE has been able to synthesize the following potential breakthroughs in longevity.

We now ask you to evaluate these breakthroughs and help us decide which can, and should, become XPRIZE competitions.

Why are these breakthroughs needed? How audacious are they (in terms of global impact)? What, if anything, must happen first to make these breakthroughs possible? And is anyone other than XPRIZE likely to do this?

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For much of the last century, Earth's population experienced tremendous increases in life expectancy. Is it possible to extend human lifespan even further, or reverse aging altogether?

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Aging, Quantified

XPRIZEXPRIZE Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 70 admin

A set of aging biomarkers that will be accepted by the community of longevity and aging researchers and utilized as a benchmark in any R&D effort in the field.

Why the Need?

There is currently much confusion and disagreement about the best way to quantify biological aging. It is already clear that a single biomarker cannot shed enough light on the aging process, but no one set of aging biomarkers has been accepted by the longevity and aging research community so far. Without a well-established set of aging biomarkers, it is nearly impossible to quantify aging in individuals with precision, and to understand how well a certain treatment works. A set of aging biomarkers would also help in raising public awareness of the issue of aging, as individuals will be able to easily ascertain their own biological ages.

Stipulations for a Successful Breakthrough Solution

The set of biomarkers must fit the criteria established by the AFAR, according to which the biomarker or set of biomarkers –
  • “Must predict a person’s physiological, cognitive, and physical function in an age-related way.”
  • Must be testable and not harmful to test subjects, as well as technically simple to perform.
  • Should work on animals as well as humans.

Finally, the aging biomarkers should be able to reflect a reversal of the aging process.

Promising Technologies for Solutions

While there are some promising aging biomarkers – for example, epigenomics-based Horvath clock – they are still controversial. Additionally, Horvath’s clock does not reflect the effects of age-reversal treatments.

Expected year for proof of concept: 2022
Expected year for mass-scaling: 2028


  • NickOttensNickOttens Barcelona, SpainPosts: 288 admin
    @efoehr, @AlexZhavoronkov, @Wally, what are your thoughts on this potential breakthrough? Do you think it would be audacious enough for an XPRIZE?
  • Polina_veritasPolina_veritas Posts: 5
    I think we need a set of biomarkers that showed the effect of a longevity intervention in a reasonable timeframe - an actionable biomarker / a panel of biomarkers of aging. The problem is how long should animals/ humans be on an intervention to see the effect. Animal experiments demonstrated that calorie restriction and 'genetic interventions' have an effect on epigenetic age (for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5578459/), but the effect was observed in animals that were on CR for 10 months at least, with 10 months showing the less age reduction and 2 months no effect. The lifespan of a lab mouse is around 3 years, so 10 months is almost one-third of their life. This suggests that epigenetic changes associated with interventions are rather gradual, which complicates the use of those clocks in a clinical setting. I would expect that therapies that have a direct effect on epigenetics would have a more pronounced and fast change in epigenetic age.
    At the same time, I can clearly see that clinical trial engagement / increasing the follow-up rate is another key area where biomarkers can help. If we are talking about aging - it something that usually humans can hardly perceive. For a clinical trial, it could be really problematic for patients not to see the immediate feedback from therapy as they won't follow up with a clinic running trials. Having a biomarker that can show patients that they got younger can solve this.
    Agreed that is a great challenge, and it is definitely needed by the industry. I am also excited about the potential of those clocks in evaluating and quantifying lifestyle and human behavior.
  • NatashaNatasha Posts: 12 ✭✭
    Personalized medicine biomarkers seems to be a smart way to regain emphasis on biomarkers as credible.
  • LisaCovingtonLisaCovington Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 38 mod
    @Polina_veritas any thoughts on what that 'reasonable time frame' might look like?
  • Polina_veritasPolina_veritas Posts: 5
    @LisaCovington I would say 0-2 years with the optimum in 3-6 months if we are thinking about the timeframe of clinical trials.
    Another point would be how long the effect of the therapy will be observed. It could be the case that biomarker only changed in response to the intervention but after a short period of time, everything goes back to the way it was. I can think of such therapies if the biomarker is also a target of the intervention.
  • SamBlakeSamBlake Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 31 mod
    @Natasha are there any efforts making progress in that area that have caught your attention?
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