by Buck Institute

Buck Institute Helps Launch National “Healthspan Campaign”

The Buck Institute has joined with the Alliance for Aging Research and other organizations to launch a new national Healthspan Campaign, urging support for aging research as the “Common Denominator” of many chronic diseases.

The rationale behind the Healthspan Campaign is presented in an aging-focused research agenda endorsed by nearly 70 of the world’s most prominent scientists, clinicians, and aging experts.

Brian Kennedy, PhD, President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging spoke at the kickoff event in Washington, DC. “Scientists who study aging now generally agree that it is realistically achievable to develop drugs that would greatly increase health in later life by slowing the aging process,” said Kennedy.  “Based on what we’re able to do in the laboratory, I think we could extend human healthspan by 15 percent – which would translate to an extra decade of good health for many people.”  Kennedy added, “The Buck Institute is glad to be involved in this campaign; we support the notion that new interventions targeting aging would usher in a new era of preventive medicine and stave off everything from dementia to cancer to heart failure, in much the same way that medicines that lower blood pressure and cholesterol fend off heart disease today.”

“There are currently 10,000 Americans a day turning 65; by 2030, about one in five Americans will be past that age,” said Dan Perry, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “To afford the eldercare costs that lay ahead, our country must invest now in the prevention and postponement of age-related illness – to focus on extending our seniors’ ‘Healthspan” instead of just their lifespan.”

According to the RAND Corporation, “a drug capable of adding ten health years to life expectancy would be by far the most cost-effective means of buying quality time” to delay the harmful effects of aging.

Currently the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading sponsor of basic biomedical research in the U.S., is funded in large part to focus on age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. “While it makes sense to continue to put resources toward these diseases, very little is being spent on the fundamental problem of aging itself,” said Perry. “Less than 1% of the NIH overall annual budget, equivalent to less than one two-thousandth of annual Medicare spending, goes for fundamental research on aging.  Gains from increased research into this area would be amplified by breakthroughs across multiple diseases of aging at once – including diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.”

Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO

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