There is considerable interest in identifying small, drug-like compounds that slow aging in multiple species, particularly in mammals. Such compounds may prove to be useful in treating and retarding age-related disease in humans. Just as invertebrate models have been essential in helping us understand the genetic pathways that control aging, these model organisms are also proving valuable in discovering chemical compounds that influence longevity. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has numerous advantages for such studies including its short lifespan and has been exploited by a number of investigators to find compounds that impact aging. Here, we summarize the progress being made in identifying compounds that extend the lifespan of invertebrates, and introduce the challenges we face in translating this research into human therapies.