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Saudi Arabia to boost anti-ageing research with an annual spend of $1 billion

June 20th, 2022

The oil-wealthy country of Saudi Arabia fears its population is ageing at an accelerated rate. Affluent lifestyles with rich diets and too little exercise have led to an increase in obesity and other health issues proven to increase the risk of premature ageing. The Saudi Royal family have started a non-profit organisation which intends to invest $1 billion annually into research and drug testing to slow down ageing at a rate not achieved before.  

Whilst there has been no official announcement of the in-depth details surrounding this impressive investment into anti-ageing, it is known that the diabetic drug metformin could be at the forefront of testing. In the past, very successful tech billionaires have taken on similar projects with the same goal but not with the same budget. On average the US has spent $325 million annually on their mission to postpone ageing dramatically. Whilst studies and testing have resulted in some impressive age postponing methods, Saudi Arabia looks like they have the money and manpower to potentially go that one step further. 

The Hevolution Foundation

The Saudi Arabia Royal family have started the non-profit anti-ageing visionary organisation the Hevolution Foundation. They believe every human has the right to live a longer, healthier life and support world-class geroscience globally. The foundation is bringing together the best experts from around the world to solve humanity’s most pressing challenge – unhealthy ageing. 

Hevolution are working with longevity scientists to find a way to delay the onset of disease – giving ageing a better future.

Dr Mehmood Khan, Chief Executive Officer at the Hevolution Foundation, was allowed to build the foundation on what he explains as a laser-like focus on dramatically improving a condition that affects every human on the planet – ageing. The organization will fund basic grants for new scientific research and much-needed large human studies but also support the testing of patent expired or never commercialized drugs. 

TAME

One of the first major tests of any drug to postpone ageing in humans was Metformin but the study languished with lack of funding. However, Hevolution has part-funded a new trial called TAME (Targeting Ageing with Metformin). A researcher at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York told an audience in London that the foundation had agreed to fund one-third of the costs. Once the agreement is finalised, it would be an endorsement of what’s called the “geroscience hypothesis”, the still unproven idea that some drugs, by changing the ageing process inside cells, could delay the onset of many diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It has been proposed that the trial would include 3000 elderly people, half would be given a placebo and the other half the diabetes drug Metformin. The hope is to reveal that taking the inexpensive drug Metformin, would delay the onset of diseases as a person ages, increasing a person’s health and life span.

A great positive for using Metformin for anti-ageing in testing is the fact that metformin has been used as a diabetes drug since the 1960s and there have only ever been mild side effects.

Saudi Arabia’s annual $1 billion boost to anti-ageing research will give experts the knowledge they need to hopefully reverse the problem of premature ageing and disease. 

References

 

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