Use the future to build the present
Slowing Biological Ageing
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

2.3.3Slowing Biological Ageing

The new vision for geroscience goes far beyond treating old people. Recent research suggests that many of what are traditionally considered ageing pathways are also involved in a variety of conditions, including not just chronic diseases of ageing, but the acute response to infection and a variety of other conditions not obviously linked to ageing.

Several interventions may slow down these processes, preventing or delaying the progression of multimorbidity and disability. In the past few years, for example, data has begun to emerge that metformin, a drug prescribed for Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases, had the “side effect” of reducing the incidence of other diseases of age compared to the purportedly healthy, non-diabetic controls against whom they were compared. In observational studies across 78,000 people, metformin was found to decrease all-cause mortality by 17 percent in the active group, which was more diabetic, more obese and less healthy overall than the control group. Now small off-label trials of metformin and rapamycin, another drug that targets the mTOR pathway, seem to indicate that these small molecule drugs can change the biology of ageing in tissues to a younger profile. Big, multicentre trials are underway or will soon start.14 Another approach is senolytics, a class of drugs that selectively clear senescent cells.15 At the moment, most of the work is on small molecules, and lifestyle interventions. The first set of drugs that have been identified as interventions have been shown to affect all hallmarks of ageing, rather than one specific pathway: for example, rapamycin affects cell senescence but it also revitalises adult stem cells, affects protein synthesis and mitochondrial function and reduces inflammation. The same is true of metformin and sirtuins. The therapeutic interventions now going into clinical trials seem to affect the systemic process itself, and may elucidate the unitary hypothesis of fundamental ageing processes.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Age-slowing drugs filter into the mainstream

Off-label prescriptions of drugs like metformin yield data, and we begin to implement findings gathered from inadvertent studies, where drugs for diseases have increased the active group’s healthspan. While new drugs are waiting to be approved, supplements that show some efficacy are validated. An early example, given that inflammation seems to be a pathway to ageing, is anti-inflammatory medicines.

10-yearhorizon

Drugs to prevent ageing become available

Carefully-gathered understanding of which combinations of lifestyle interventions and drugs have synergistic effects on hallmarks of ageing and specific diseases enables us to use them on prescription. Drugs are found to alleviate early-stage indicators of ageing such as frailty and Alzheimer’s disease. More trials are launched to investigate the efficacy of drugs such as metformin and rapamycin on a wider range of age-related disorders.

25-yearhorizon

A unitary hypothesis of fundamental ageing processes

Instead of a single “silver bullet” that slows the ageing process, we know how to combine different anti-ageing strategies for personalised “ageomes” for additive and synergistic effects.

It becomes possible to figure out the perfect age to start different drugs or interventions. Perhaps start metformin at 50, while gene therapy is carried out in the womb to prevent other processes of ageing.

Slowing Biological Ageing - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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