by Buck Institute

Donors Driving Discoveries

Buck scientists sometimes look at a graph showing the death rate from infectious diseases over time as inspiration for our own work. While this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused a spike in the trend, the overall picture is incredibly clear: infectious diseases are simply not as deadly as they used to be. Antibiotics, vaccines, and modern sanitation have extended human lifespan and helped billions of people live longer, healthier lives. Now the greatest threats to human health are the chronic diseases associated with aging, like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. At the Buck, we envision similar treatments and trends to extend human healthspan, the healthy years of life. Through our research, common chronic conditions, just like infectious diseases, will no longer be seen as major threats. For the success against infectious diseases, and the progress we’ve seen against chronic disease, we can thank science, and science is our focus for this year’s Giving Tuesday.

Every piece of good news we’ve had in 2020 has been due to the hard work of scientists harnessing the power of nature to make our lives better. From the best practices shared among physicians to the incredible news about the vaccine trials, science is what’s going to get us out of this pandemic and back to our normal lives. But at the Buck, we are working toward a new normal: a normal in which healthy minds and healthy bodies are an expected part of every phase of life, regardless of age.

As much as we are confident that science will continue to drive down the threat of infectious diseases until they’re mostly historical artifacts, we also know that science is our key to unlocking a future of healthy, independent aging for us all. Scientists from around the world gather here each day, dedicated to uncovering new avenues for preserving our precious health. When it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was disproportionately affecting older adults, we pivoted some research and resources to devote our expertise in aging to this critical issue. The purpose of our science is the promise of living better longer, and we dedicate each hour in the lab to that purpose.

Standing behind our scientists are our donors who cheer on each discovery. The news of Dolly Parton’s donation toward vaccine research is a reminder that you don’t have to do science to contribute to discovery. Philanthropy truly drives discovery and we are grateful for our supporters who help propel us toward the future we imagine: a future in which getting older is a welcome transition, free of the threat of age-related disease. If this is the future you imagine, we encourage you to make a contribution that goes directly to our scientists, funding the experiments that will take us there. 2020 has made it clearer than ever that we really are in this together, and that by investing in science, together we can discover how to extend health for everyone and live better longer.

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Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

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