We stand at a cusp of an unique demographic transition. For the first time in human history, the whole planet is aging: within a few decades, people that have been made sick, dependent, or unproductive by the damage of aging will outnumber the young and healthy. The diseases of aging will rob the world of some of our most productive citizens, and rapidly drive up the cost of healthcare and the budgets for public and private pensions. Given “aging as usual,” the sheer size of the aging generation sets the stage for global economic catastrophe.
A report (The Demographic and Biomedical Case for Late-Life Interventions in Aging) highlights three key approaches to the challenge that must all be met to meet the goal of maintaining the health and productivity of today’s generations: (1) expand public health measures to help citizens avoid suffering prematurely from age-related disease; (2) develop new medicines that boost the body’s ability to maintain health and productivity longer by slowing down the degenerative aging process; and (3) use the principles of regenerative engineering, the special focus of SENS Foundation, to create therapies that remove, replace, repair, and neutralize the cellular and molecular damage that accumulates in aging bodies, and thus restore youthful structure and function to the tissues and lives of aging citizens.
And to meet that goal, the report is a call for dramatic, targeted investments by the National Institutes on Health (NIH) and other public and private biomedical research organizations to bring forward new therapies against the degenerative aging process.