Even while basic questions around such fundamental processes are being explored, however, there are already therapies in clinical trials. As with fundamental geroscience, here the goal is to reduce the health impacts of ageing. A range of interventions, from small molecule drugs to gene therapy, are now in various early stages of investigation. Their endpoints are specific disease outcomes and ageing biomarkers. However, many analyses will yield insights that are predicted to inform a range of interventions in the ageing process, from lifestyle changes to technologies to, eventually, pharmacological and even gene therapies.
A fundamental shift is underway. This foundational reconceptualisation of ageing as a disease will lead to a new kind of public health programme based on “healthspan extension”. The endgame of such a programme is a society-wide eradication of frailty, high late-life health expenditures, and low quality of late-life. These are crucial aims in an ageing global population; the primary goal is not years added to lifespan, but to “healthspan”, where health, wellbeing and quality of life remain high until death.2
Selection of GESDA best reads and further key reports
Unveiled in January 2023, Cell-cell metabolite exchange creates a pro-survival metabolic environment that extends lifespan presents a profound discovery by an international research team working in the field of yeast ageing. Researchers discerned cross-generational metabolic interactions where young cells export vital metabolites consumed by ageing counterparts, fostering significant lifespan extensions and underscoring the symbiotic relationship between metabolism and ageing. A pivotal piece of research was published in August by a team from the United States. Increased hyaluronan by naked mole-rat Has2 improves healthspan in mice expounds on the profound impacts of transferring the naked mole-rat's hyaluronic acid-producing gene into mice. These transgenic mice exhibited reduced cancer rates, diminished inflammation, and prolonged lives, charting promising routes for leveraging high-molecular-mass hyaluronic acid to boost lifespan and health. Also in August, a paper entitled Platelet factors attenduate inflammation and rescue cognition in ageing highlighted the role of Platelet factor 4 (PF4) in reversing age-related cognitive decline in mice. The protein, previously recognised for wound healing, demonstrated potential in enhancing cognitive abilities, reducing inflammation in the hippocampus, and promoting synaptic plasticity, suggesting possible applications for conditions like Alzheimer's.