The Search is On for 100 Vital Centenarians to Advance Genomic Science and Revolutionize Medical Care
FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Living to 100 years old is a remarkable feat in itself, but now a group of 100 centenarians has the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy that could radically change medical care for generations to come. The X PRIZE Foundation and Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) are searching for the Medco 100 Over 100 – a group of 100 vital centenarians (100 years or older) whose genomes could unlock the secrets of healthy aging and usher in a new era of personalized medicine.
These “genomic pioneers” will allow their DNA to serve as the basis for the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco. World-class teams will compete to rapidly, accurately and economically sequence the genomes of the Medco 100 Over 100, affording an unprecedented opportunity to identify those “rare genes” that protect against disease, which may provide valuable clues to health and longevity.
“The Medco 100 Over 100 will represent a very special group of people who have lived an unusually long life and somehow beaten the odds against the common diseases of aging that substantially impact quality of life and longevity,” said Dr. Felix Frueh, President of the Medco Research InstituteÃ‚®. “Discovering what important factors make them different from the rest of us could lead to important advances in prevention and treatment of disease – that’s quite a significant gift to give by participating in this research effort.”
Each team will sequence the genomes of the Medco 100 Over 100 – the equivalent of 10,000+ years of life. This genomic data will become the most deeply sequenced set of human genomes ever assembled and define for the first time a “medical grade” genome, empowering scientists around the world to revolutionize medicine through an open source database. A lasting result of this competition will be a new clinical standard for genomics.
“This is a critical advancement needed to transform genomic research into practical clinical care; promoting disease prevention, improving medical outcomes and driving down healthcare costs,” commented Grant Campany, Senior Director of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco.
At the recent launch of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco at the New York Academy of Medicine, 107-year-old George Eberhardt became the first centenarian nominated into the Medco 100 Over 100. The long-lived New Jersey resident had a career in engineering spanning 81 years, first with Bell Labs and then at Drew University from which he retired in 2005 at age 101. While Eberhardt attributes his longevity to his wife of 70 years Marie, keeping his mind and body active may have helped as well. He played tennis until he was 94 and still takes daily rides on his stationary bike. Eberhardt signed on as a member of the Medco 100 Over 100 because of his interest in the science behind this competition and his desire to know why he and other centenarians have been able to beat the odds against the common diseases of aging. Click here for more from Eberhardt.
The Search for the Medco 100 Over 100 will span the globe looking for centenarians and supercentenarians (age 110 and older) to participate in this historic effort. Anyone 100 years or older, who is cognizant, currently without any serious disease and is willing to share their story can be nominated to join the Medco 100 Over 100. While good health will be an important criterion for selection, special consideration will be given to supercentenarians, whose extreme longevity challenges the normal notions of aging. Centenarian nominations can be submitted at www.genomics.xprize.org/medco-100-over-100 and will be accepted through January 6, 2012.
The selection process will be conducted by the New England Centenarian Project at Boston University Medical Center, led by Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, associate professor of Medicine and Geriatrics. Centenarians interested must be willing to provide their medical and medication histories, as well as a signed informed consent.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 53,300 centenarians living in America in 2010; that number is expected to top one million by 2050. About 83 percent of centenarians are women and 17 percent are men. The states with the highest number of resident centenarians are California, Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois. Supercentenarians, those 110 years or older are far rarer, with only 330 recorded living in the U.S. last year. There is approximately one supercentenarian for every seven million people worldwide.
Research has revealed the following characteristics among centenarians:
- Obesity and substantial cigarette smoking are rare
- Centenarians appear to be better able to handle stress than the average person
- Many female centenarians have their first child at a later age, usually at 35 or older
- At least 50 percent of centenarians have first-degree relatives and/or grandparents who also achieve very old age, and many have exceptionally old siblings
Medco has been making medicine smarter by making it personal for nearly a decade. Studies conducted by the Medco Research Institute have paved the way for genetic testing programs that are becoming a part of routine pharmacy practice for millions of patients through DNA Direct by Medco. In addition, United BioSource Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Medco, is working with pharmaceutical manufacturers and life science companies worldwide to develop authoritative, real-world evidence about product effectiveness, safety and value to assist healthcare decisions and personalize patient care.
About the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by MedcoÃ‚®
Conceived by Dr. Craig Venter, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco is designed to usher in a new era of personalized medicine, revolutionizing the industry and challenging scientists to design rapid, inexpensive and accurate whole human genome sequencing technologies. This competition is generously sponsored by title sponsors, Dr. Stewart and Marilyn Blusson. To learn more, visit www.genomics.xprize.org.
About X PRIZE Foundation
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation, a (501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration. Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development; and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE for highly effective ocean surface oil spill cleanup methods. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco. For more information, go to www.xprize.org.
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world’s most advanced pharmacyÃ‚® and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter(TM) for approximately 65 million members.
With more than 20,000 employees worldwide dedicated to improving patient health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2010 revenues of nearly $66 billion, Medco ranks 35th on the Fortune 500 list and is named among the world’s most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies.
For more information, go to http://www.medcohealth.com.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.