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AFAR Experts in the News: Nir Barzilai, Leonard Guarente, James L. Kirkland, S. Jay Olshansky, Thomas T. Perls, and David A. Sinclair in The Boston Globe on innovative aging research

May 24

AFAR Experts in the News: Nir Barzilai, Leonard Guarente, James L. Kirkland, S. Jay Olshansky, Thomas T. Perls, and David A. Sinclair in The Boston Globe on innovative aging research View MoreBACK

On May 19, 2018, The Boston Globe spotlighted several AFAR experts in a feature exploring the range of research approaches to increasing longevity and healthspan.

The article, “Scientists in Mass. and beyond are working to slow the aging process,” features:

AFAR Deputy Scientific Director, 1997 Beeson Scholar and 1994 AFAR Research Grant recipient, Nir Barzilai, M.D.
2015 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction winner Leonard Guarente, Ph.D.
2012 Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award recipient and President-elect James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.
•  AFAR Board member S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D.
•  1998 Beeson Scholar Thomas Perls, M.D., M.P.A., F.A.C.P.; and 2000 AFAR Research Grant recipient and Board member David Sinclair, Ph.D.

First, the article highlights the Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) trial, which is being led by Dr. Nir Barzilai. “The trial’s disease targets, including cancer and heart disease, were chosen to stay in line with FDA categories. But the study’s leader, Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is clear about its aim. ‘We’ll call it what we call it,’ he said, ‘but whatever it is, it will target aging.’”

Leonard Guarente’s insights on Basis, a life extending drug created by Elysium Health are also highlighted in the article. Guarente states, “Basis could become a springboard for a family of treatments, including both consumer products and FDA-Approved medicines.”

James L. Kirkland’s research on senescent cells is spotlighted. Dr. Kirkland explains the goal of his research is to “target age-related diseases as a group rather than picking them off one by one.”

Jay Olshansky’s insights on the benefits of living a longer healthy life are also highlighted.  Dr. Olshansky “argues the extension of healthy life would create a ‘longevity dividend’ of economic and health benefits for individuals and society.”

Thomas Perl’s research on centenarians and supercentenarians is also highlighted in the article. Dr. Perl states “understanding the mechanisms of how they age supports a primary goal of researchers: ‘to compress morbidity till the very end of life’ so people can be healthier and independent longer.” 

David Sinclair’s research at Harvard is also highlighted. Dr. Sinclair and his research team have worked on boosting levels of a molecule known as NAD, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, to trigger an enzyme called SIRT1. The article also notes Sinclair’s previous company Sirtris Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, which had the goal of increasing SIRT1 levels. Sinclair recently announced “plans to move forward with as many as five more early-stage biotechs.”

Read the full article here.

Nir Barzilai, M.D., is a Professor in the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
Leonard Guarente, Ph.D., is the Novartis Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., is the Director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic.
S. Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Research Associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Thomas T. Perls, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., is a Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., is as a Professor of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School.