Who are we?
We are a group of scientists and veterinarians who believe that aging is not an inviolable law of nature, but is rather a condition which can be prevented and/or postponed. This idea is supported by years of our research and we feel that it is time to implement it to practice.
What does Vaika stand for?
We founded this not-for-profit charitable medical research organization with a mission to extend the health- and life-span of domestic animals. This company will collect funds which would be distributed for support of clinical and research programs aimed at implementing our main hypothesis to life. Our organization is named after the loyal and beloved friend of the founders: husky Vaika.
Science fiction or reality?
Reality! The scientific approach used to achieve our goal is based on the concept that age-related diseases and frailty are largely dependent on the activity of certain genetic elements, which we named “The Retrobiome”. We have learned how to prohibit their activation with a drug which is not toxic and has a long history of administration in humans. Please explore our Science section for details.
What will we actually do?
As the first step in achieving our ultimate goal, we have initiated a clinical study in aged sled dogs in order to test whether inhibition of Retrobiome will be beneficial for dogs’ healthspan and longevity.
In the ongoing study we recruit retired sled dogs from kennels across the country. These dogs are 8-11 years old and while they still are quite healthy and happy, they are no longer capable of participating in racing. It would have been hard for their original owners to provide them with the health care required for elder animals, and therefore we adopt them and provide them excellent medical attention at the highly regarded Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. During the study (which will last through the lifetime of our animals) we will be registering various physiological and behavioral parameters related to the process of aging. This data will serve as an essential platform for aging research around the globe. Meanwhile, half of the dogs recruited to the study will be receiving the drug which we believe to be capable of inhibiting the activity of the Retrobiome. If our hypothesis proves to be correct, we will expand the study to multiple dog breeds and other mammals (including people). If we are wrong – we will (1) assure happy adulthood for at least 100 dogs and (2) help the research community collect an enormous amount of data on dogs’ physiology and aging which will eventually serve as a founding platform for achieving our ultimate goal.
We chose the dog as the first species of mammals to be treated against aging not only because all of Vaika’s team members are dog owners and our dream is to make our friends stay healthy and happy, but also because canine genome is known for its plasticity and susceptibility to Retrobiome activation (find more information in our Science section).