On December 14, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be presented the 2013 INFINITY AWARD, the highest honor from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (“A4M”). Schwarzenegger is receiving this award for his early leadership role in securing landmark funding in the area of stem cell research. Specifically, Schwarzenegger piloted an initiative to direct $3 billion in government funds to stem cell research, an initiative which would have meant California gave more funding for embryonic stem cell research than anywhere else in the world. Schwarzenegger also directed an additional $150 million to ensure stem cell research continued moving forward. Such drive by Schwarzenegger made California an attractive resting spot for much of America’s biotechnology venture capital, thereby creating thousands of new jobs in the state.
In addition to his work with stem cell research, Schwarzenegger also possesses a menagerie of other accomplishments, including: world champion bodybuilder, Hollywood action hero, successful businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, best-selling author, and California’s 38th Governor. Since leaving office in 2011, Schwarzenegger has furthered his career by continuing to star in hit movies as well as founding the non-profit organization R20: Regions of Climate Action and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which is devoted to seeking bipartisan solutions to environmental, economic and other public policy issues.
Outside of politics and movies, Schwarzenegger has also found time to give back to local communities by promoting and supporting sports, health and fitness programs for American and the world’s youth. He was the USA’s most successful Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, Founder of the Inner City Games and After-School All-Stars charity, (which gave a venue for kids to engage in fitness activities after school hours).
A4M announced Schwarzenegger’s nomination at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Conference on Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, which was recently held in the popular resort island of Bali, Indonesia. Schwarzenegger’s nomination came with much praise. Dr. Robert Goldman, A4M Chairman and co-Founder stated, “I have been honored to know Arnold as a close friend for over 30 years and there is nothing he cannot achieve and his contributions to health, fitness and freedom of healthcare choice are unparalleled.” Dr. Ronald Klatz, A4M President, also praised Schwarzenegger saying, “Governor Schwarzenegger sees the future and makes it happen, just like we did in founding the world’s leading anti-aging and regenerative medicine education programs, medical society and industry 22 years ago.”
Governor Schwarzenegger will join an elite list of individuals who have received past A4M INFINITY AWARDS, including: Dr. Linus Pauling (Nobel Laureate in Medicine), Dr. Raymond Damadian (developer of the MRI), Dr. Peter Safar (creator of CPR), Senator John Glenn (astronaut and space medicine specialist), Dr. Nathan Pritikan (specialist in Coronary Heart Disease Prevention), & Dr. Denham Harman (creator of the Free Radical Theory of Anti-Aging).
A4M was the first medical society to see that Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine would be the future of the medical field, and since its inception has grown to become the leading educational medical society with over 26,000 members in 120 nations across the globe. A4M has also been involved in training over 100,000 physicians and scientists over the last few decades alone.
Generally, Anti-Aging Medicine is the comprehensive new medical specialty comprised of advanced preventative medicine technologies which take the best components of all medical specialties and target them for total patient care to slow, prevent and reverse the course of age related diseases. This process is accomplished through sound medical principles, research and clinical data.
Anti-Aging is a rapidly growing market. For example, in 2013, the value of anti-aging products and services is projected to reach $261.9 billion, and is expected to grow to $345.8 billion by the end of 2018.
The reason for this massive profit is, according to research by the BCC, a worldwide population of more than 500 million aging consumers, which is growing at three times the rate of the general population and is estimated to reach 1.5 billion by 2025, making the over age 60 crowd a highly attractive market for anti-aging and biotech companies. Improvements in health care and disease prevention have the potential to not only create massive economic benefit, but also dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of individuals.
Possibly because of the large economic profits which can be realized, many players outside of the traditional medical market are now starting to enter the field. For example, Larry Page, Founder of Google, has recently launched Calico, a new company that will focus on longevity, health and well-being, and, in particular, will address issues regarding aging and associated diseases. Larry Page has tapped non-other-than Dr. Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, to lead this project as CEO and co-Founder. When announcing this new investment, Larry Page stated, “illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art – one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation – to take this new venture forward.” In accepting his new position, Levinson said, “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outside improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.” Page also stressed that part of his impetus for starting the company was because, “[i]n some industries, it takes 10 or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Healthcare is certainly one of those areas. Maybe we should shoot for the things that are really, really important, so 10 or 20 years from now we have those things done.”
Time Magazine recently noted that A4M has been around for nearly 20 years, but with new market entries such as Google, it further legitimizes the field of anti-aging and regenerative medicine, truly propelling it into the future of modern medicine.
Other notable entrants into the market include: Peter Theil, founding Facebook investor and PayPal Founder who has launched the Founders Fund, which, among other ventures, supports tech firms looking to address aging issues; Gregory Bonafiglio, co-Founder and Managing Partner of Proteus Venture Partners, who has said that regenerative medicine is the “Internet of healthcare” and is poised for an historic investment boom; and, Larry Ellison, Founder of Oracle and 5th richest in world according to Forbes magazine, who also founded the Ellison Medical Foundation, which supports basic biomedical research on aging.
In summary, significant breakthroughs in understanding the basic biological processes that underlie aging and age-related diseases are the best hope we have for achieving genuine prevention or amelioration of age related debilitation and disease. And the more sections of the medical and business world that are striving to achieve this, the faster it can be realized.
Schwarzenegger’s work and dedication to the area of stem cell research is a crucial part of the anti-aging and regenerative medicine puzzle and he showed great leadership in this field, and thus, he is highly deserving of the coveted 2013 INFINITY AWARD. And who knows, possibly with such drive, a bid at the American Presidency might be just around the corner.