New investigator collaboration plans to transform healthy aging research
Researchers from 28 UK universities will create 11 new networks, teaming up to tackle healthy ageing.
Previous reviews of how to boost research into healthy aging in the UK found that research efforts were fragmented, focusing on unique aspects of ageing, rather than a coherent strategy for healthy ageing. health. Recognizing the need to improve research in this vital area, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have combined their investment power to the tune of £2 million to creating the UK Aging Networks.
Longevity.Technology: Aging is a series of interconnected processes and its study involves gerentology, biology, medicine, epidemiology, public health, economics, health infrastructures… These new interdisciplinary research networks bring together researchers and actors from different disciplines to create new knowledge and improve outcomes for all of us. By facilitating the development of new research approaches, the UK Aging Networks will accelerate our understanding of healthy aging and longevity and produce new and effective solutions for an aging population.
The 11 new networks aim to provide researchers with strong interdisciplinary platforms to integrate expertise and knowledge across disciplines, leveraging connections to better understand the biological mechanisms of aging and how to increase lifespan and quality of life. healthy life in the elderly.
Coordinated at the macro level by Professors Lynne Cox and Richard Faragher, the networks will dramatically increase collaboration with key stakeholders. They aim to translate findings into future policy, public health and new therapies by working alongside:
- The audience
- Industrial partners
- Policy Makers
- Health professionals
Putting research findings into practice
“Major scientific advances over the past decade have shown that different age-related diseases stem from fundamental biological processes that can be altered to improve health later in life,” Professor Cox said. “It’s an incredibly exciting time to work in the science of aging, especially since it may be possible to not only treat age-related diseases at the cause, but also take a preventative approach.
“The interdisciplinary nature of the new, aging networks allows us to leverage expertise from across academic disciplines and work with clinicians, biotechnologists, industry and policy makers to put research findings into practice. .”.
Transforming health in the years to come
“We are on the cusp of scientific developments that will transform health in the years to come,” Professor Faragher added. “By being able to keep millions of older people healthy and out of hospital, we can significantly reduce costs and pressures on the NHS and GPs. Be sure. A race is now on, and countries and companies that can capitalize on the biology of aging will dominate 21st century healthcare .”
Meeting the major societal challenge of healthy aging
Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of the BBSRC, said: “At the heart of improving health and well-being is a thorough and integrated understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of health throughout life. life. An understanding based on collaboration, partnerships and knowledge sharing.
“By funding the Aging Networks, we are not only addressing a major societal challenge, we are also stimulating multidisciplinary research and innovation, with the potential for truly exciting breakthroughs. .”
Building UK-wide collaborations
“How to keep people healthier while living longer is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century medicine and our society,” said Professor John Iredale, interim executive chairman of CRM. “To make greater progress, we must transform the way we conduct research on aging, both by bringing together scientists from many disciplines with the public, clinicians, policy makers and industry.
“The new networks we are funding will establish UK-wide collaborations to better understand the fundamentals of ageing, paving the way for the development of new interventions to prevent, stop or reverse aberrant ageing. .”
11 new networks for healthy aging
- Networking to Catalyze Collaboration to Reduce Immune Aging: Catalyst Reducing Immune Aging (CARINE). Led by Professor Arne Akbar, University College London, this network aims to bring together immunologists and non-immunologists studying areas relevant to understanding immune aging, to identify new strategies for understanding and overcoming immune system challenges. aging.
- Muscular resilience throughout life: from cells to society (My age). Led by Professor Peter JS Smith of the University of Southampton, this network will take a reverse engineering approach to understanding the mechanistic pathways of muscle development, differentiation and decline, with the aim of developing a roadmap for interventions for up to five additional years of independent living.
- Lifelong Physical Activity Targeting Inequalities (TO REACH), led by Dr Leigh Breen, University of Birmingham. People from socially disadvantaged groups or ethnic minorities have lower physical activity on average and are underrepresented in research. This network aims to bring together molecular, cellular, and population-level research approaches to identify and address physical, environmental, and psychosocial barriers to physically active living, working with key stakeholders, policy makers, and industry partners. industry, as well as socially disadvantaged and minority ethnic communities. UK.
- Harness knowledge of lifespan, biological, health, environmental and psychosocial mechanisms of cognitive frailty for integrated interventions (CFIN). Led by Professor Carol Holland of Lancaster University, the network will aim to understand the mechanisms of cognitive frailty and identify pathways for targeted interventions across the lifespan.
- Food for Extra Years of Life: Putting Research into Action (Food4years), led by Dr Miriam Clegg of the University of Reading. There are many barriers preventing older people from consuming nutrient-dense diets, with one in ten people over the age of 65 suffering from malnutrition or at risk of malnutrition in the UK. This project aims to develop and make changes that promote healthy and affordable foods and diets for older adults.
- Aging and nutrition detection (AGENT). Led by Professor Gary Frost of Imperial College London, the network will bring together researchers in fields ranging from nutrition to cell biology and from human physiology to population health, aiming to address all aspects of the pathway from basic research to how this new knowledge will apply to the development of policies to improve the healthy lifespan and quality of life of older people.
- An Interdisciplinary Alliance on Aging: Cellular Metabolism Across the Lifespan in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations (CELLO). Led by Dr Sian Henson, Queen Mary University of London, this network aims to bring together an interdisciplinary team that will investigate how metabolic dysfunction in aging cells is driven by both intrinsic (eg genetics) and extrinsic (eg , environmental). mechanisms from an early age. Understanding changes in cellular metabolism across the lifespan is key to identifying ways to address this inequity in healthy aging observed in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
- The skin microbiota in healthy aging (SMiHA) which is led by Professor M Julie Thornton of the University of Bradford. The composition of microbes on the skin changes with age, along with changes such as thinning and dryness. Very old people can suffer from chronically infected wounds that resist treatment. The hormonal changes of menopause cause alterations in the skin and its microbiome. This network aims to bring together scientists and microbiologists of the skin, clinicians and industrialists to better understand and target changes in the skin microbiome with aging.
- Interdisciplinary Research Network on Extracellular Matrix Aging Across the Lifespan (ECMage), led by Dr Elizabeth Laird of the University of Liverpool, will aim to develop models to study the aging of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is the main structural component of tissues and organs and its deterioration leads to abnormal communication between cells and loss of vital functions, which contributes to many age-related diseases.
- the DESTROY Network: building links in aging science and translation is led by Professor Richard Faragher, University of Brighton and Professor Lynne Cox, University of Oxford. The network will focus on identifying biomarkers of age-related poor health and understanding the mechanistic drivers of biological aging that decrease healthy lifespan and aim to identify effective interventions in aging processes. and promote the implementation of results through translation into policy and practice.
- The translation of aging research (ART) of the Healthy Aging Network, led by Professor Miles Witham of Newcastle University. Major advances are being made in the biology and epidemiology of aging, but these advances do not always translate from the laboratory to the clinic. The ART of Healthy Aging Network aims to provide complementary expertise to build the capacity, knowledge and resources needed to effectively translate advances in the biology and epidemiology of aging into interventions for human testing.