Mayo Clinic the Geroscience Network have developed strategies for taking new drugs to clinical trials, specifically, drugs that target processes underlying multiple age-related diseases and disabilities. And they’ve written six supporting articles that appeared in The Journals of Gerontology.
The Geroscience Network consists of 18 academic aging center, with the participation of more than 100 investigators from across the U.S. and Europe.
Aging may be a modifable risk factor
“Aging is the largest risk factor for most chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, dementias, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, blindness and frailty,” said James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging.
However, he said recent research suggests that aging may actually be a modifiable risk factor. “The goal of our network’s collaborative efforts is to accelerate the pace of discovery in developing interventions to delay, prevent, or treat these conditions as a group, instead of one at a time.”
Felipe Sierra, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging and a member of the Geroscience Network, describes the potential impact of such discoveries in his article, “Moving Geroscience into Uncharted Waters.” He notes that in addition to the direct health issues, care for the elderly currently accounts for 43 percent of the total health care spending in the U.S,, or approximately 1 trillion dollars a year, and that this number is expected to rise as baby boomers reach retirement age.
“Reducing these costs is critical for the survival of society as we know it,” he said. “A 2013 paper by Dana Goldman and colleagues calculated that a just modest increase (2.2 years) in lifespan and healthspan could reduce those expenses by 7 trillion dollars by 2050.”
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Paul Glenn Foundation, Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence for the Biology of Aging, the Connor Group, and the Noaber and Ted Nash foundations.