Nature Biotechnology (2022)

Despite its checkered reputation, cryptocurrency is being considered by a handful of academics as a means to funnel funds into translational research. Is the trend likely to spread? Laura DeFrancesco and Ariel Klevecz investigate.

Morten Scheibye-Knudsen of the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Healthy Aging was ready to move his research on longevity molecules forward. Inspired by previous work with the small-molecule drug metformin showing that that 70-year-olds taking the drug for diabetes live longer than their healthy counterparts, Scheibye-Knudsen undertook a deep dive into the medical records of roughly seven million Danish people going back to the 1970s. “We asked whether any of the prescription drugs could affect life span in humans… and found large variation in how drugs are associated with life span across the population,” says Scheibye-Knudsen. His search revealed several drugs with putative associations to people with lengthened lifespans.