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Pathways to Healthy Longevity – Bar Ilan University – October 15, 2017

longevity advocacy israel longevity day longevity month

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#1 ilia

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 05:13 PM

Pathways to Healthy Longevity – Bar Ilan University – October 15


On October 15, there took place in Bar Ilan University the national conference on biomedical research of aging and longevity, entitled “Pathways to Healthy Longevity 2017”. The conference included reports on cutting-edge developments in longevity science by leading Israeli researchers in the field, as well as a prize competition for longevity research students, which drew dozens of submissions from virtually all the universities in Israel. The conference was co-organized and co-sponsored by Vetek (Seniority) Association – the Senior Citizens Movement (Israel), Israeli Longevity Alliance, American Federation for Aging Research, Longecity, and other longevity research advocacy organizations in Israel and abroad. The conference was held as a part of the “Longevity Month” campaign of October, following the “UN International Day of Older Persons” on October 1. The aim of the conference, and of the Longevity Month campaign, was to enhance academic discussion in the field of biomedical aging research in Israel as well as increase public awareness and support of the field. http://www.longevity...ersity-program/


The need for such support should be clear. The global population is rapidly aging, with the concomitant rise of aging-related diseases, and the Israeli population is no exception. Hence biomedical research of aging becomes an urgent priority in order to find effective preventive measures for the mounting challenge of aging-related ill health. Unfortunately, the urgent need for such research has not yet become widely realized, neither by the public, nor by the policy makers and funders, not even by a large part of biomedical R&D community. One of the central aims of the conference was to draw their attention to the issue. Thus, a special discussion panel was held during the conference on “Advancing Biomedical Research of Aging as a National Task” which sought ways to increase material and human support for this vital field of study. As it was suggested during the panel, the support should come from all walks of society: the scientists themselves (who should propose more aging-related studies), ministries and funding agencies where the field of biomedical aging research needs to be defined (it seldom is), general public (perhaps involving a political demand), press (to draw the attention of the public and policy makers). http://www.longevity...conference.html


The scientific sessions of the conference showcased the rapid development and promise of the fundamental studies in the field that should be nourished to become therapies. Thus the main conference topics considered such issues as “Slowing down the aging process,” “Preventing Aging-related Damage” and “Measures of Healthy Longevity.” Prof. Nir Barzilai – Deputy Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research and director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York – spoke about the critical issue of “compression of morbidity” or minimizing aging-related ill health thanks to therapeutic intervention into the aging process. Prof. Barzilai’s TAME study (targeting aging with metformin) is probably the first FDA approved clinical trial aiming to intervene into the aging process in order to prevent several age-related diseases (or “old-age multimorbidity”) at once, which provides the paradigm to follow. There could be several such preventive interventions, with some of the proofs of principle showcased at the conference. Thus Prof. Haim Cohen of Bar Ilan University spoke about the regulation of lifespan and healthspan by differential utilization of energy, with a special reference to the “longevity enzyme” Sirtuin 6 optimizing energy utilization. Several presentations considered the critical role of “proteostasis” or “protein homeostasis” (protein stability) for organisms longevity, considering various means to eliminate misshaped and aggregated proteins that cause much of aging-related cellular and organismal dysfunction. Various aspects of this process and potential directions toward its therapeutic improvement (chiefly using nematode worms C. Elegans as a research model) were discussed by Prof. Sivan Korenblit of Bar Ilan University, Dr. Anat Ben-Zvi of Ben Gurion University and Prof. Ehud Cohen of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Yosef Gruenbaum of Hebrew University of Jerusalem presented further novel links between aging and metabolism. Prof. Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University discussed the prospects of precision medicine in aging, aiming to make therapies truly personalized and adjusted to the person’s age. Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of Science demonstrated the importance of boosting immunity to combat age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Valery Krizhanovsky of the Weizmann Institute of Science examined the role of senescent cells in aging and age-related diseases and discussed the emerging “senolytic” therapies to eliminate senescent cells and thereby improve senescence-associated conditions. Prof. Gil Atzmon of Haifa University discussed the role the environment can play in longevity, and presented epigenetic approaches (mechanisms of environmental regulation of gene expression) to both measuring and influencing the aging processes. Indeed, correct diagnostic measurement is necessary for effective treatment. Dr. Ilia Stambler of Bar Ilan University discussed diagnosis (measurement) of the aging process, as a way toward early detection of aging-related diseases. There is a growing realization that predictive diagnosis and preventive treatment of degenerative aging processes will be a major part of future healthcare industry. As an example of the growing involvement and interest, Dr. Daphna Laifenfeld of “TEVA” Personalized & Predictive Medicine Department presented on the personalized medicine for neurodegenerative diseases, which steeply rise in the aging population.


Altogether, the presentations showcased the continuous advancement of the field of biomedical research of aging and the need for its further accelerated development and support.


The conference was also covered in the press. Thanks to all the participants and supporters!




Ilia Stambler

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Edited by ilia, 22 October 2017 - 05:27 PM.

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