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Biogerontology Research Foundation Launches Campaign for Photographic Biomarkers of Age

Biogerontology Research Foundation Launches Campaign for Photographic Biomarkers of Age

Biogerontology Research Foundation


Thursday, August 31st, 2017, London, UK: The Biogerontology Research Foundation announces the launch of a crowdfunding campaign, MouseAge, to develop and test photographic biomarkers of ageing in mice in collaboration with scientists from Harvard University, University of Oxford, Youth Laboratories and Insilico Medicine. The project’s aim is to develop novel biomarkers of ageing in mice for the purposes of testing the effect of healthspan and lifespan-extending interventions. The project is now live at Lifespan.io, a crowdfunding platform for ageing research institutions that has launched several successful campaigns for SENS Research Foundation, International Longevity Alliance and CellAge.

“One of the most fundamental challenges in ageing research today is the development of robust and reliable biomarkers of ageing to serve as the basis by which the efficacy of lifespan and healthspan-extending interventions can be tested. Humans live a long time, and testing the effect of geroprotective interventions in humans using lifespan gains as the main criterion for success would be wildly impractical, necessitating long and costly longitudinal studies. By developing accurate biomarkers of ageing, the efficacy of potential geroprotective interventions could instead be tested according to changes in study participants’ biomarkers of ageing. While significant attention is paid to the development of highly accurate biomarkers of ageing, less attention is paid to developing actionable biomarkers of ageing that can be tested inexpensively using the tools at hand to the majority of researchers and clinicians. The Biogerontology Research Foundation chose to support MouseAge.org because photographic biomarkers of ageing represents a highly actionable alternative to more expensive measures of biological age.” said Franco Cortese, Deputy Director & Trustee of the Biogerongology Research Foundation.

The project utilizes Insilico Medicine’s novel deep learning platforms to correlate changes in physical appearance with biological and chronological age. Insilico is leading the pack in the intersection of deep learning and ageing research, and is well known for its use of advances in genomics, big data analysis, and deep learning for in silico drug discovery and drug repurposing for ageing and age-related diseases. The Biogerontology Research Foundation has collaborated with Insilico Medicine in the development of actionable and practical biomarkers of ageing before through their Ageing.AI project, and both organizations hope that MouseAge is the next in a long line of continuing research into the development of actionable biomarkers of ageing via the intersection of longevity research and deep learning.

“There are many experiments conducted around the world that examine lifespan in mice. The artificially intelligent MouseAge system will help determine which interventions make mice look younger. The plan is to develop an accurate predictor of mouse biological age based on images of mice and then apply transfer learning techniques to other datasets and data types,” said Vadim Gladyshev, MouseAge Research Lead and Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Milestones for the project include the design of standardized protocols for creating photos and videos of mice, developing a mobile app and server infrastructure for image data collection, developing and testing the project’s main algorithm for mouse age prediction, optimizing feature extraction to investigate visual biomarkers of ageing in mice, creating a central data repository for the project’s data, utilizing transfer learning techniques to make these methods applicable to other model organisms, and ultimately using transfer learning techniques to develop photographic biomarkers of ageing in humans. The project’s principal investigator is Anastasia Georgievskaya, co-founder of Youth Laboratories, a company working at the intersection of ageing research, AI and machine vision, with the ultimate goal of using facial imageing data to predict patient health status.

The ultimate end-goal of MouseAge is to develop an intuitive mobile app to be used by researchers across the globe free of charge, where users can take images of model organisms and have the project’s DP-based algorithms perform age-assessment of images uploaded by users of the app. Both the organizations and researchers behind MouseAge are united in their belief in the promise of AI to accelerate ageing research and to streamline the development of effective healthspan-extending interventions for use in human patients, and hope that MouseAge comes to be remembered as an important landmark in the ongoing paradigm shift away from costly and inefficient sick-care and toward morbidity compression and effective healthspan extension for the benefit of all.

“Ageing research is the most altruistic cause that can generate billions of quality-adjusted life years over time and save the global economy. We are very happy to contribute to and support the MouseAge project. Our Young.AI system for tracking multiple biomarkers during human ageing is currently in the alpha stage and is launching in the fall. However, the biological relevance of many of the biomarkers and interventions is yet to be established, and the MouseAge project contributes to the body of fundamental science required to bridge AI and longevity research. Please support the MouseAge project on LifeSpan.io to contribute to this grand effort”, said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, Chief Science Officer of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

About the Biogerontology Research Foundation:

The Biogerontology Research Foundation is a UK non-profit research foundation and public policy center seeking to fill a gap within the research community, whereby the current scientific understanding of the ageing process is not yet being sufficiently exploited to produce effective medical interventions. The BGRF funds and conducts research which, building on the body of knowledge about how ageing happens, aims to develop biotechnological interventions to remediate the molecular and cellular deficits which accumulate with age and which underlie the ill-health of old age. Addressing ageing damage at this most fundamental level will provide an important opportunity to produce the effective, lasting treatments for the diseases and disabilities of ageing, required to improve quality of life in the elderly. The BGRF seeks to use the entire scope of modern biotechnology to attack the changes that take place in the course of ageing, and to address not just the symptoms of age-related diseases but also the mechanisms of those diseases.

Induced Cell Turnover: A Proposed Modality for In Situ Tissue Regeneration and Repair – Press Release by Biogerontology Research Foundation

Induced Cell Turnover: A Proposed Modality for In Situ Tissue Regeneration and Repair – Press Release by Biogerontology Research Foundation

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Biogerontology Research Foundation


Scientists at the Biogerontology Research FoundationFeinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences at the University of Amsterdam have published a paper on a proposed method of in situ tissue regeneration called Induced Cell Turnover (ICT) in the journal Human Gene Therapy. The proposed therapeutic modality would aim to coordinate the targeted ablation of endogenous cells with the administration of minimally-differentiated, hPSC-derived cells in a gradual and multi-phasic manner so as to extrinsically mediate the turnover and replacement of whole tissues and organs with stem-cell derived cells.

“One of the major hurdles limiting traditional cell therapies is low levels of engraftment and retention, which is caused in part by cells only being able to engraft at locations of existing cell loss, and by the fact that many of those vacancies have already become occupied by ECM and fibroblasts (i.e. scar tissue) by the time the cells are administered, long after the actual occurrence of cell loss. The crux underlying ICT is to coordinate endogenous cell ablation (i.e. induced apoptosis) with replacement cell administration so as to manually vacate niches for new cells to engraft, coordinating these two events in space and time so as to minimize the ability for sites of cell loss to become occupied by ECM and fibroblasts. This would be done in a gradual and multi-phasic manner so as to avoid acute tissue failure resulting from the transient absence of too many cells at any one time. While the notion of endogenous cell clearance prior to replacement cell administration has become routine for bone marrow transplants, it isn’t really on the horizon of researchers and clinicians working with solid tissues, and this is something we’d like to change,” said Franco Cortese, Deputy Director and Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation, and lead author on the paper.

Cell-type and tissue-specific rates of induced turnover could be achieved using cell-type specific pro-apoptotic small molecule cocktails, peptide mimetics, and/or tissue-tropic AAV-delivered suicide genes driven by cell-type specific promoters. Because these sites of ablation would still be “fresh” when replacement cells are administered, the presumption is that the patterns of ablation will make administered cells more likely to engraft where they should, in freshly vacated niches where the signals promoting cell migration and engraftment are still active. By varying the dose of cell-type targeted ablative agents, cell type and tissue-specific rates of induced turnover could be achieved, allowing for the rate and spatial distribution of turnover to be tuned to the size of the tissue in order to avoid ablating too many cells at once and inadvertently inducing acute tissue failure.

“Cell therapies are limited by low levels of engraftment, and in principle their ability to improve clinical outcomes is limited by the fact that they can only engraft at locations of existing cell loss. Conversely, therapeutic tissue and organ engineering requires surgery, is more likely to introduce biochemical and mechanical abnormalities to tissue ultrastructure through the decellularization process, and is fundamentally incapable of replacing distributed tissues and structures with a high degree of interconnectivity to other tissues in the body. The aim of ICT is to form a bridge between these two main pillars of regenerative medicine, extending the efficacy of cell therapies beyond a patch for existing cell loss and accomplishing the aim of tissue and organ engineering (i.e. the replacement and regeneration of whole tissues and organs) while potentially remaining free of some of their present limitations,” said Giovanni Santostasi, co-author on the paper and a researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

While future iterations of the therapy could use patient-derived cells, such as ESCs derived via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or iPSCs derived from nuclear reprogramming, shorter-term applications would likely use existing stem cell lines immunologically matched to the patient via HLA matching. The authors contend that the cloning of adult organisms with normal lifespans from adult somatic cells testifies to the fact that adult cells can be rejuvenated and used to produce a sufficient quantity of daughter cells to replace the sum of cells constituting adult organisms, and that serial cloning experiments (in which this process is done iteratively, using an adult cell of each subsequent generation to derive the next) attests to this fact even more strongly.

“ICT could theoretically enable the controlled turnover and rejuvenation of aged tissues. The technique is particularly applicable to tissues that are not amenable to growth ex vivo and implantation (as with solid organs) – such as the vascular, lymphatic, and nervous systems. The method relies upon targeted ablation of old, damaged and/or senescent cells, coupled with a titrated replacement with patient-derived semi-differentiated stem and progenitor cells. By gradually replacing the old cells with new cells, entire tissues can be replaced in situ. The body naturally turns over tissues, but not all tissues and perhaps not optimally. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Heraclitus: ‘No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man,'” said Sebastian Aguiar, a coauthor on the paper and researcher at the Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam.

“Reversing aging in humans will require a multi-step approach at multiple levels of the organismal organization. In situ targeted ablation of the senescent cells and regeneration will be an important component of comprehensive anti-aging therapies,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, Chief Science Officer of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

The researchers originally proposed ICT in 2016 in the context of biomedical gerontology as a possible means of preventing and/or negating age-related phenotypic deviation for the purposes of healthspan extension, and in this new paper they refine the methodological underpinnings of the approach, take a closer look at potential complications and strategies for their deterrence, and analyze ICT in the context of regenerative medicine as an intervention for a broader range of conditions based on disease or dysfunction at the cellular and intercellular level, with potential utilities absent from traditional cell therapies and tissue/organ engineering, the two main pillars of regenerative medicine. The intervention is still very much conceptual, and any potential utilities over other therapeutic modalities within regenerative medicine would need to be verified via preclinical studies, but their hope is to stimulate further research at this interface between geroscience and regenerative medicine.

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The paper is available here.

About the Biogerontology Research Foundation:

The Biogerontology Research Foundation is a UK non-profit research foundation and public policy center seeking to fill a gap within the research community, whereby the current scientific understanding of the ageing process is not yet being sufficiently exploited to produce effective medical interventions. The BGRF funds and conducts research which, building on the body of knowledge about how ageing happens, aims to develop biotechnological interventions to remediate the molecular and cellular deficits which accumulate with age and which underlie the ill-health of old age. Addressing ageing damage at this most fundamental level will provide an important opportunity to produce the effective, lasting treatments for the diseases and disabilities of ageing, required to improve quality of life in the elderly. The BGRF seeks to use the entire scope of modern biotechnology to attack the changes that take place in the course of ageing, and to address not just the symptoms of age-related diseases but also the mechanisms of those diseases.

Bioquark, Inc., and Lakmus LLC Announce Research Collaboration to Study Novel Biopharmaceuticals for Healthy Longevity Enhancement – Press Release by Ira Pastor

Bioquark, Inc., and Lakmus LLC Announce Research Collaboration to Study Novel Biopharmaceuticals for Healthy Longevity Enhancement – Press Release by Ira Pastor

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Ira Pastor


Bioquark, Inc., and Lakmus LLC, announce a multi-disciplinary research collaboration to study age-reversal / longevity-enhancing bio-pharmaceutical development with the FSBI Zakusov Institute of Pharmacology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Bioquark, Inc., (http://www.bioquark.com) a life sciences company focused on the development of novel bio-products for regeneration, disease reversion, and healthy aging, and Moscow-based Lakmus LLC, a diversified investment company with business interests in pharmacies, restaurants, and real estate, announced a multi-disciplinary research collaboration with the FSBI Zakusov Institute of Pharmacology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (http://www.academpharm.ru/), and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (http://www.infran.ru/), to jointly study the pharmacotherapeutic longevity-enhancement properties of its combinatorial regenerative biologic candidates.

“We are very excited about this continued collaboration with Lakmus,” said Ira S. Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. “The disciplined development of our combinatorial biologic candidates (Bioquantines) for healthy longevity enhancement, represents another important step in our continued evolution as a company focused on a broad range of therapeutic products and services in the regenerative healthcare space.”

Throughout the 20th century, natural products formed the basis for a majority of all pharmaceuticals, biologics, and consumer healthcare products used by patients around the globe, generating trillions of dollars of wealth. However, many scientists believe we have only touched the surface with what the natural world, and its range of organisms, which from a health and wellness perspective are much further advanced than human beings, has to teach us.

The integration of a complex set of newer research disciplines, including interkingdom signaling, semiochemical communication, and evolutionary biology, as well as significant recent activity in the areas of the microbiome, are highlighting a myriad of new ways that non-human bio-products can affect the human genome for positive transitions in health and wellness dynamics.

“Bioquark has spent several years studying the natural ability of many species to turn back biological time in order to maintain health, fitness, and survival, developing a broad understanding of the combinatorial biochemical approaches they use to control nested hierarchies of disease (i.e., gene, cell, tissue, organism, environment),” said Dr. Sergei Paylian, Founder, CSO, and President, Bioquark Inc. “This research initiative is one more step in the path in allowing humans to recapture these capabilities to effectively counter our unfortunate progression into aging, disease, and degeneration.”

About Bioquark, Inc.

Bioquark Inc. is focused on the development of natural biologic based products, services, and technologies, with the goal of curing a wide range of diseases, as well as effecting complex regeneration. Bioquark is developing both biological pharmaceutical candidates, as well as products for the global consumer health and wellness market segments.

Read about Mr. Ira S. Pastor here.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Approved By 122 Member States

U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Approved By 122 Member States

Martin van der Kroon


The U.S. Transhumanist Party applauds the efforts by members of the United Nations (UN) to ban nuclear weapons.

On Friday, 7 July, 122 of the 193 member states adopted the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, which is “the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years,” according to Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference that negotiated the treaty.

Unfortunately none of the nine member states that possess nuclear weapons (United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel), or are thought to have such weapons  supported the treaty. The Netherlands also opposed the treaty, as it has U.S. owned nuclear weapons within its borders at Volkel military air base, and Singapore abstained from voting.

We, the U.S. Transhumanist Party, oppose the use of nuclear weapons, as per Article III, Section III, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution.

“However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons . . .”

Furthermore, we support the complete abolition of nuclear weapons as outlined in Section IV:

“In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.”

It is our hope that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that entered into force in 1970, as well as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons of 2017 (Draft), is part of an ongoing process for the disarmament and abolition of all nuclear weapons by every nation. 

Martin van der Kroon is Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

 

Benchmark Database of Lifespan-Extending Drugs Announced – Press Release by Biogerontology Research Foundation

Benchmark Database of Lifespan-Extending Drugs Announced – Press Release by Biogerontology Research Foundation

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Note from the Editor: The following Press Release was originally published on EurekAlert! Science News by the Biogerontology Research Foundation. In accord with the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s open support of longevity science – in particular, Article V and Article VI of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights (v. 2.0) – we affirm our support by republishing the Press Release below.

~ B.J. Murphy, Director of Social Media, United States Transhumanist Party, March 16, 2017


Benchmark database of lifespan-extending drugs announced

Finding: The majority of age-related pathways have yet to be targeted pharmacologically

BIOGERONTOLOGY RESEARCH FOUNDATION

Scientists from the Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) and University of Liverpool have announced a landmark database of lifespan-extending drugs and compounds called DrugAge. The database has 418 compounds, curated from studies spanning 27 different model organisms including yeast, worms, flies and mice. It is the largest such database in the world at this time. Significantly, the study found that the majority of age-related pathways have not yet been targeted pharmacologically, and that the pharmacological modulation of aging has by and large focused upon a small subset of currently-known age-related pathways. This suggests that there is still plenty of scope for the discovery of new lifespan-extending and healthspan-extending compounds.

DrugAge is the latest of a number of valuable resources freely available on the Human Aging Genomic Resources (HAGR) website created and maintained by the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group at the University of Liverpool, led by Biogerontology Research Foundation Trustee Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, in collaboration with many other scientists worldwide, including BGRF Chief Science Officer and CEO of Insilico Medicine, Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD. Other resources available through HAGR include GenAge (a database of age and longevity-related genes in humans and model organisms), AnAge (a database on ageing, longevity records and life-history featuring over 4000 species), GenDR (a database of genes associated with the life extending effects of dietary restriction), and LongevityMap (a database of over 2000 human genes and genetic variations associated with longevity).

“DrugAge is the latest database created by Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, a world leader in the application of advanced bioinformatics and integrated computational approaches to biogerontology and ageing research. I am confident that it will gain widespread use in the ageing research community, and represents a significant milestone along the way to the coming paradigm shift in modern healthcare away from single disease treatment and toward geroprotective multi-disease prevention,” said Dmitry Kaminskiy, Managing Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

The database is freely available to the public, and is searchable according to compound name, species and effect on lifespan. The data can be presented as both tables and interactive charts. Functional enrichment analysis of the targets of the database’s compounds was performed using drug-gene interaction data, which revealed a modest but statistically significant correlation between the cellular targets of the database’s compounds and known age-related genes.

The database encompasses the earlier efforts published by the BGRF scientists, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, PhD and Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD as an open resource called Geroprotectors.org. The publication is available at http://www.aging-us.com/article/100799 .

“DrugAge represents a landmark resource for use in the biogerontology community. It is the largest database of lifespan-extending compounds compiled to date, and will surely come to be recognized as an extremely valuable resource for biogerontologists. Analysis performed using the database has already revealed interesting trends, including a modest but statistically significant overlap between lifespan-extending drugs and known age-related genes, a strong correlation between average/median lifespan changes and maximum lifespan changes, a strong correlation between the lifespan-extending effects of compounds between males and females, and perhaps most significantly that most known age-related pathways have yet to be targeted pharmacologically. More broadly, an understanding of the comparative effects of geroprotectors upon the lifespan of a variety of different model organisms is important both for basic research into the biology of ageing, demonstration of lifespan plasticity via modulation of a variety of distinct biomolecular targets as proof to regulators that healthspan extension is a viable paradigm for disease treatment and prevention, and for the eventual clinical translation of potential geroprotectors,” said Franco Cortese, Deputy Director and Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.

“Besides introducing the DrugAge database to the larger scientific community, this paper’s overarching significance lies in the finding that the large majority of known age-related pathways have not yet been targeted pharmacologically, and that we are in a very real sense at the starting line of the search for pharmacological agents capable of extending lifespan and healthspan via the modulation of known age-related pathways. There is still very much left to learn,” said Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, PhD, a Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) and a Principal Investigator at the University of Liverpool’s Integrative Genomics of Aging Group (IGAG).

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The paper ‘The DrugAge database of ageing-related drugs’ has been published in the journal Aging Cell.

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party Endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party Endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

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Note from the Chairman: In accord with Article III, Section IV, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, which recognizes the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth and advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible, the U.S. Transhumanist Party endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, proposed by U.S. Representative Ted Lieu and U.S. Senator Edward Markey. While the proposal by Representative Lieu and Senator Markey to restrict the first use of nuclear weapons is much more modest than complete disarmament, it is also a basic and common-sense measure to prevent the United States Federal Government from acting as the aggressor in a potentially civilization-ending war. As such, the passage of this act would be a welcome first step on the path toward peace and nuclear disarmament.

For more information, please read the press release of January 24, 2017, from Representative Lieu and Senator Markey below.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, January 29, 2017

 


Congressman Lieu, Senator Markey Introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

Press Release by Congressman Ted Lieu & Senator Edward J. Markey

WashingtonToday, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.  This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. The crucial issue of nuclear “first use” is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice.

Upon introduction of this legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:

“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter. Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution and work towards a safer world.”

Upon introduction of this legislation, Senator Markey issued the following statement:

“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. By restricting the first use of nuclear weapons, this legislation enshrines that simple principle into law. I thank Rep. Lieu for his partnership on this common-sense bill during this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Support for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017:

William J. Perry, Former Secretary of Defense – “During my period as Secretary of Defense, I never confronted a situation, or could even imagine a situation, in which I would recommend that the President make a first strike with nuclear weapons—understanding that such an action, whatever the provocation, would likely bring about the end of civilization.  I believe that the legislation proposed by Congressman Lieu and Senator Markey recognizes that terrible reality.  Certainly a decision that momentous for all of civilization should have the kind of checks and balances on Executive powers called for by our Constitution.”

Tom Z. Collina, Policy Director of Ploughshares Fund – “President Trump now has the keys to the nuclear arsenal, the most deadly killing machine ever created. Within minutes, President Trump could unleash up to 1,000 nuclear weapons, each one many times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Yet Congress has no voice in the most important decision the United States government can make. As it stands now, Congress has a larger role in deciding on the number of military bands than in preventing nuclear catastrophe.”

Derek Johnson, Executive Director of Global Zero – “One modern nuclear weapon is more destructive than all of the bombs detonated in World War II combined. Yet there is no check on a president’s ability to launch the thousands of nuclear weapons at his command. In the wake of the election, the American people are more concerned than ever about the terrible prospect of nuclear war — and what the next commander-in-chief will do with the proverbial ‘red button.’ That such devastating power is concentrated in one person is an affront to our democracy’s founding principles. The proposed legislation is an important first step to reining in this autocratic system and making the world safer from a nuclear catastrophe.”

Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) – “Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey have rightly called out the dangers of only one person having his or her finger on the nuclear button. The potential misuse of this power in the current global climate has only magnified this concern. It is time to make real progress toward lowering the risk that nuclear weapons are ever used again, and this legislation is a good start.”

Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – “Nuclear weapons pose an unacceptable risk to our national security. Even a “limited” use of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic climate disruption around the world, including here in the United States. They are simply too profoundly dangerous for one person to be trusted with the power to introduce them into a conflict. Grounded in the fundamental constitutional provision that only Congress has the power to declare war, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 is a wise and necessary step to lessen the chance these weapons will ever be used.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) – “Restricting first-use of nuclear weapons is an urgent priority. Congress should support the Markey-Lieu legislation.”

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