Global call to tackle aging

An
organisation with links to Cayman is spearheading an international call to arms
in the battle against aging.

A
panel of experts in aging has come together to urge a global establishment of
an “Apollo-type mission” to develop medicine and therapies to enable people to
live longer and healthier.

A
paper on the subject was published Wednesday, 14 July, in science journal
Science: Translational Medicine.

Cayman-based
physician Dr. John Addleson, the medical advisor of the LifeStar Institute –
the organisation founded by long-time Cayman resident William Millard which
that brought the experts together – said the article is the culmination of
almost two years of collaboration between “some of the most revered and
respected scientists in the field of bio-gerontology”.

“The
article is a convincing argument by five bio-gerontologists to endorse a global
initiative, using three complementary approaches, to retard, arrest, and even
reverse aging damage and loss of functionality in older persons. The impact
that this article will have on the scientific, medical, and general population
will be huge,” he said.

He
said it is hoped that the publication of the article would elicit a
ground-swell of support for the project.

“It
is [Mr. Millard’s] notion that with the support of the scientific, medical and
public population on a global collaborative basis, the concept of addressing
and solving age-related diseases is well within our grasp and our lifetime,”
said Dr. Addleson.

With
Mr. Millard’s’ funding, co-founders Barbara Logan and Kevin Perrott, chief
executive officer and chief operating officer of LifeStar respectively, have
worked over the past two years to enrol top scientists to work on the concept.
Ms Logan, who is Mr. Millard’s daughter, said the bio-gerontologists had concluded
that now is the time to launch a world-wide effort to keep old age, and its
associated illnesses, at bay.

She
said the panel of scientists and researchers determined that the technology and
science already existed to control and avert age-related illnesses like heart
disease, cancer and dementia, which, as the world’s population ages, will be an
enormous burden on public health resources globally.

“We
think we can do something to mitigate or maybe even avert the ‘asteroid’ of
global aging that is heading our way,” Ms Logan said.

She
added that the key to keeping elderly people healthy in the late part of their
lives was within reach and that elderly people’s lives would not just be prolonged,
but they could retain cognitive abilities and general good health.

“We
really hope that it will be something that other scientists and even
policy-makers can take to their colleagues and constituents and say ‘this is
not a pipe dream’,” she said.

The
article in the scientific journal points out that scientists are keeping lab
animals alive and fitter for longer using genome sciences, drastic diets, and
the techniques of cell science and regenerative medicine and proposes that
similar approaches should be used on humans because soon, for the first time,
the elderly will outnumber the young.

The
article said that nations need to create a global collaboration to transform
what is known about degenerative changes of aging and ways to ameliorate them
in the laboratory into new kinds of medicines for humans.

It
urged countries to make maximum use of public health infrastructure to inform
people how to improve their lifestyles and to develop medicines that shift the
biochemical processes of life into channels that are less damaging to the body.
It also exhorted the development and application of regenerative medicine to
remove, replace, repair, and render harmless the cellular and molecular damage
that accumulate in aging bodies and to restore youthful structure and function.

Regulatory
changes would have to be made throughout the world to make this possible and
nations would have to differentiate the evaluation and regulation of new
medicines for older people from medicines for the general population. The
article went on to say that older persons will have to be included in clinical
trials of new medicines.

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