Recent advances in geroscience have begun to explain the molecular mechanisms that link aging with disease, making age the greatest risk factor for most causes of mortality. Potential therapeutic strategies to delay age-related disability and disease and increase healthy lifespan have emerged. Among these is rapamycin, a drug intervention that has been shown to increase lifespan and healthspan in rodent models.
Companion animals are subject to similar risk factors, receive comparable medical care, and develop many of the same age-related diseases humans do. Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, of the Dog Aging Project, conducted a study of a small group of healthy middle-aged dogs receiving either a dose of rapamycin or a placebo. Dogs age similarly to humans, but their lives are much shorter and they age more quickly; therefore aging studies on dogs can yield answers in as little as three to five years, as opposed to human clinical trials that can take decades. The results yielded no clinical side effects and an echocardiography seemed to show improvement in cardiac function. Based on these findings, another, longer study will be done with a larger group of dogs in order to confirm the effects on heart function and behavior. It will also help to determine whether there are differences in mortality and prevalence of age-related diseases.
Dr. Kaeberlein’s work in translational geroscience seeks to close the gap between promising lab findings and possible applications for humans and to improve the quality of life for pets and their owners. You can read his most recent paper here or you can watch his presentation from the joint OFAS-New York Academy of Sciences conference Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques.
The New York Academy of Sciences recently announced that the multimedia eBriefing of the symposium, Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques, is now available.
On December 2, the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science and the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences convened the conference Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques. Leading researchers in the field gathered to discuss the use of established and emerging interventions in nutrition and metabolism to extend lifespan and impact healthy aging.
Academy eBriefings help you stay informed about the new research discussed at NYAS conferences and symposia. Click the link to read highlights of the talks or drill deeper and watch a selection of the speakers’ presentations.
OFAS and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) joined together to present a conference on Aging & Nutrition: Novel Approaches & Techniques. A panel of leading researchers in these fields gathered to discuss the many powerful new techniques under development for use in studies of healthy aging. The conference was held on December 2 at The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY.
Ellis Rubenstein, NYAS President and CEO, gave the opening remarks on behalf of NYAS. Dr. Gilles Bergeron, Senior Vice President of The Sackler Institute, facilitated for the event. The first session, which focused on new approaches in aging research, was facilitated by Dr. Lenore Launer of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. Speakers for this session were Dr. Arlan Richardson (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center), Dr. Matt Kaeberlein (University of Washington) and Dr. Vera Gorbunova (University of Rochester).
OFAS Senior Scientist Dr. Jay Johnson moderated the second session, which focused on novel technologies that will play an important role in current and future studies. The panel comprised Dr. Nicholas Stroustrup (Harvard University), Dr. Vadim Gladyshev (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), and Dr. Jan van Deursen (Mayo Clinic). Our Associate Science Director, Dr. Gene Ables, gave the closing remarks on behalf of OFAS.
To watch the first hour of the conference, click here.
Cellular senescence, a stress-induced state in which cells are unable to divide, is known to prevent the proliferation of potentially cancerous cells. This growth arrest also plays a beneficial role in tissue remodeling and wound healing. In organisms, senescent cells accumulate over time and it is thought that this buildup is a part of the aging process. In a recent study published in the journal Nature, Dr. Jan van Deursen’s group explored the physiological relevance and consequences of senescent cells. They demonstrated that the elimination of these cells extended the median lifespan of both male and female mice, delayed the progress of neoplastic disease, and reduced the severity of age-related pathologies in several organs, such as kidney, heart, and adipose tissue.
Studies like this are key with respect to the ultimate goal of extending human healthspan; in part, as they provide the means to explore other methods that increase the quality of life and prevent or delay the onset of age-related disease. Dr. Jay E. Johnson, one of our senior scientists here at OFAS, is particularly interested in this type of research. The developing field of senolytics (i.e., using pharmacological agents to selectively eliminate senescent cells) represents a promising approach to translating basic aging research to improve human health. It will, of course, be quite interesting to see how efficiently such therapies prevent age-related deterioration in humans.
Dr. van Deursen will be presenting his pioneering research at our upcoming symposium “Aging and Nutrition: Novel approaches and techniques”, which will take place on December 2, 2016 at the New York Academy of Sciences. For more information, please click here.
Several interventions have been identified that significantly extend healthy lifespan in mammals. Caloric restriction, for example, has been shown to improve healthspan in a variety of organisms, including rodents. Conversely, animals fed a diet with a normal caloric content, but with limiting amounts of the essential amino acid methionine, are up to 45% longer-lived than control animals. These and many other studies collectively demonstrate that alterations in nutrition and metabolism can have profound effects on healthy aging.
While studies are ongoing using conventional and established approaches to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying healthspan-extending interventions, many powerful new techniques are also being developed (e.g., genome engineering, high-throughput sequencing, DNA methylomics) that can be used to great effect for studies of healthy aging.
To explore the interplay between aging, nutrition, and metabolism, as well as the important role that novel technologies will play in current and future studies, Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at The New York Academy of Sciences are bringing together several preeminent researchers in these fields. The event will take place Friday, December 2, 2016 from 12:30 PM – 6:30 PM at The New York Academy of Sciences (7 World Trade Center, 40th Floor, New York, NY, USA).
Attendance for this event is limited in order to facilitate high level discussions and interactions. For additional information on the symposium, speakers, and registration, visit the NYAS website.