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AFAR in the News: AFAR experts explore “Taming the Diseases of Aging” in Moonshot Catalog on Medium

Aug 6

AFAR in the News: AFAR experts explore “Taming the Diseases of Aging” in Moonshot Catalog on Medium View MoreBACK


On July 8, 2019, Medium featured the insights of several AFAR experts in a special feature,  “Taming the Diseases of Aging.” The article anchors The Moonshot Catalog, a communications project funded by the philanthropic organization Schmidt Futures in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Significantly, The Moonshot Catalog selected healthy aging as one of its “ambitious but doable science- and technology-anchored challenges whose realization would do a lot of good for a lot of people.”

The article emphasizes how geroscience research can transform how we can live healthier for  longer, surveys drug trials currently underway including the AFAR-managed Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) Trial, and posits the longevity dividend of delaying diseases and extending health.

AFAR Deputy Scientific Director and multiple grantee Nir Barzilai, MD, and Board Member S. Jay Olshansky, PhD discuss the transformative potential of geroscience to extend healthspan.

Felipe Sierra, PhD, a 1993 AFAR Research Grant recipient, then outlines a midterm goal to develop basic biology, drug development, and clinical studies to delay the onset of major age-related diseases, with a long-term goal to achieve a 5-year delay. Dr. Sierra also stresses the importance of philanthropic funding for aging research.

AFAR Scientific Director Steven N. Austad, PhD, explains that extending healthspan is “one of the signature problems of the 21st century,” and emphasizes the plausibility of this goal, given the prevalence of people staying naturally healthy to the age of 100. Dr. Austad highlights the Dog Aging Project as an example of research that promotes longer lifespans in animals. The project is led by AFAR experts Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, and Daniel Promislow, PhD (AFAR Research Grant recipients in 2006 and 1996, and Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award recipients in 2007 and 2010, respectively).

The article highlights trials underway in mice and humans using a range of therapeutics, such as senolytics, shown to delay age-related disease by targeting the biology of aging. AFAR President-elect and 2012 Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award recipient James L. Kirkland, MD, PhD, discusses the pillars of aging, and the ways interventions can delay, prevent, or alleviate age-related conditions. The article details Dr. Kirkland’s involvement in six human clinical trials with two different senolytic compounds. AFAR Director Stephanie Lederman speaks on the Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) Trial, which AFAR is managing.

Read the article, “Taming the Diseases of Aging,” here.