Tell Congress to make geroscience a focus of ARPA-H

Congress, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-1) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6)

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) is credited with paradigm-shifting inventions, such as GPS and the internet. The Biden Administration understands that the model for DARPA works and has suggested establishing ARPA-H, a program that is focused on delivering those same paradigm-shifting inventions, but for healthcare. We must make Congress, and specifically the two Representatives tasked with writing ARPA-H into legislation Congresswoman Dianna DeGette (CO-1) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6), aware of the fact that roughly 7 in 10 daily deaths are a result of the aging process. They also must be aware of the fact that we can delay the onset of age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer's/dementia by developing drugs and therapies directly targeting cellular aging at the source. Geroscience drug discovery proves to be one of the most promising avenues to seriously move healthcare forward and if we wait to make it a focus, more people will continue to suffer longer and die sooner than otherwise necessary.

Immediate action is crucial.

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To: Congress, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-1) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6)
From: [Your Name]

The Alliance for Longevity Initiatives (A4LI) is calling on Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6) and Congresswoman Dianna DeGette (CO-1) to make radical advancements in geroscience a focus for the newly proposed agency, ARPA-H.

Roughly 100,000 people die every day from the diseases of old age (heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's, etc...) or aging itself. For all of human history, we have had to accept aging as an inevitability; we've never had the technological capabilities to control or treat it. Over the last few decades, and specifically the last few years, humanity's scientific understanding of aging, along with our technological capabilities, have advanced to the point where treating aging medically may actually be possible. Leading scientists at some of the most prestigious academic institutions alongside numerous million and billion dollar biotechnology companies have fully committed themselves to understanding the biological mechanisms of aging and how to precisely manipulate the aging process at a cellular and molecular level. Treating aging at the source will delay the onset of the many of the diseases associated with late life and ultimately will result in more people living longer, healthier lives.

The United States government and specifically those within it who wield tremendous influence and power, must realize that it has, not just a clear moral duty, but also a financial obligation to put resources towards treating aging medically. Prominent economists argue that the countries who sponsor and support the development, commercialization and widespread distribution of gerotherpaies (drugs that treat aging) will experience a "Longevity Dividend'' through drastic savings in medical expenses for the aging population and increases in overall population productivity. What's more, investing in therapies that target cellular aging is a preventative measure against the next COVID-like pandemic. COVID-19 predominantly killed the aging population and so, if our aging population was healthier for longer, the negative impacts of the pandemic would’ve been greatly reduced.

The Alliance for Longevity Initiatives is calling on Congressman Upton, Congresswoman DeGette, the Biden Administration and the rest of the policymakers tasked with establishing ARPA-H to appoint at least 20 geroscience-focused Program Managers, tasked with the development and commercialization of cheap, accessible gerotherapies. A4LI is also calling on Congress to appropriate the full $6.5 billion to ARPA-H, as well as the agency being independent and not under the control of the NIH.

Having ARPA-H focus on geroscience is “better bang for the buck,” as the money spent towards treating cellular aging will bring upon advancements in a variety of other diseases. Drug development to treat cellular aging helps in the fight against diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, as those are strongly-correlated with age. However, developing cancer or Alzheimer’s drugs does not have the same cross-disease benefit.

ARPA-H has the potential to be the agency that helped save hundreds of millions of lives per year, if it chooses to put a focus on geroscience and treating the aging process.