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Transforming our future: Healthy ageing

Conference

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

Credit: pixelfit

Healthy ageing is a two-day conference held by the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences' FORUM. The UK Government has set the Grand Challenge of achieving five extra years of healthy older age by 2035, but achieving this will be reliant on innovations in research and health and social care systems that benefit people of all ages and backgrounds. Speakers will discuss scientific advances across ageing research, from basic mechanisms that drive ageing through to novel treatments and other interventions - considering how we define healthy ageing and prioritise the most effective research and innovations. The meeting will address the implications of our ageing population for society, policy, and the health and social care systems. Finally, it will consider how healthier older age can be realised through research, policy and other initiatives, exploring the ethical, social and economic frameworks that will be needed to ensure sustainable and fair benefit for all.

Attending this event

This open event is free to attend and is intended for participants with an interest in the life sciences sector from a variety of backgrounds including academia, industry, government, as well as regulatory and other scientific bodies.

Contact the Industry team for more information.

About the conference series

This meeting forms part of the Royal Society's Transforming our Future series and the Academy of Medical Sciences' FORUM programme.

The Transforming our Future meetings are unique, high-level events that address scientific and technical challenges of the next decade and bring together leading experts from wider scientific community, industry, government and charities. The meetings are organised with the support of the Royal Society Science, Industry and Translation Committee.

The Academy's FORUM programme brings together industry, academia and the NHS, and the charity, regulatory and wider healthcare sectors. It provides an independent platform to bring together leaders from across the life sciences sector to discuss scientific opportunities, technology trends, translational challenges and strategic choices in healthcare.

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Event organisers

Select an organiser for more information

Schedule of talks

13 February

08:30-09:00

Registration

09:00-09:15

Introduction and welcome from the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences

1 talk Show detail Hide detail

09:00-09:15 Welcome

Venki Ramakrishnan, President, The Royal Society

Show speakers

09:15-10:15

Keynote speeches

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

09:15-09:45 Keynote speech - Can We Prevent Ageing?

Professor Dame Linda Partridge FMedSci FRS, Director, Institute of Healthy Ageing, University College London

Abstract

Human life expectancy in many parts of the world has increased substantially. Unfortunately healthy lifespan has not kept up and there is a growing period of disability and ill health at the end of life. The ageing population is therefore often seen as an increasingly alarming burden for society. Because ageing is the major risk factor for so many chronic and killer diseases, scientific attention has turned to the underlying ageing process itself, and the mechanisms by which it leads to disability and illness. The characteristic hallmarks of ageing are largely identified and are conserved in evolution. They have turned out to be remarkably malleable to environmental, genetic and pharmacological interventions, which also prevent age-related diseases. These discoveries are moving forward into the commercial sector and clinical trials, and it is now realistic to foresee medical interventions into the ageing process that will prevent more than one age-related disease. We may thus be able to maintain health until closer to the end of life.

Show speakers

09:45-10:15 Keynote speech - The Challenge of Healthy Ageing: Social science issues and perspectives

Professor James Banks, University of Manchester and IFS

Abstract

The way in which health, social circumstances and economic factors evolve over people's lives is inexorably intertwined. Only by understanding all three, and the dynamic interrelationships between them, can we really understand the evolution of health and lifestyles as people age. Even then, many policy issues associated with population ageing, whether these are challenges or opportunities, cannot be adequately understood by studying individual ageing processes in isolation, a more general economy-wide perspective is required. This talk will discuss these issues, with specific reference to recent UK evidence and the current debate surrounding the Grand Challenge on Healthy Ageing.

Show speakers

10:15-10:45

Coffee break

10:45-12:45

Mechanisms 1

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Dame Linda Partridge FMedSci FRS, Director, Institute of Healthy Ageing, University College London

TBC

TBC

11:15-11:40 TBC

Dan Marquess, DPhil, Chief Scientific Officer of UNITY Biotechnology

Abstract

TBC

Show speakers

11:40-12:05 Innate immune ageing: Consequences and corrections

Professor Janet Lord FMedSci, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham

Abstract

The immune system is remodelled with age resulting in increased risk of infections, reduced vaccination responses and increased risk of autoimmune disease and cancer. This lecture will discuss changes to neutrophil and natural killer cell function with age, the underlying mechanisms involved, the contribution of these changes to the aged phenotype and interventions to correct the deficits.

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12:05-12:30 Targeting the biology of ageing to prevent or treat ageing-related diseases

Dr Joan Mannick, resTORbio

Abstract

Ageing is a biology regulated in part by a protein complex called target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1). Inhibition of TORC1 has extended lifespan and health span in every preclinical species studied to date. These data raise the possibility that drugs that inhibit TORC1 may have therapeutic benefit in aging-related conditions in humans. One of the mechanisms by which TORC1 inhibition may have benefit in ageing-related diseases is by upregulating autophagy. Autophagy is a process by which cells breakdown and recycle protein aggregates and dysfunctional organelles. Declines in cellular autophagy occur with age and may contribute to the accumulation of damaged misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Based on these findings, a Phase 1b/2a study is ongoing to evaluate whether oral doses of TORC1 inhibitors are well-tolerated in Parkinson's disease patients and achieve central nervous system concentrations predicted to induce autophagy.

Show speakers

12:45-13:45

Lunch

13:45-15:20

Mechanisms 2

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Janet Lord FMedSci, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham

TBC

TBC

14:10-14:35 Understanding and manipulating mitochondrial redox metabolism in ageing

Dr Mike Murphy, University of Cambridge

Abstract

Over the past few years myself and collaborators have developed mitochondria-targeted bioactive and probe molecules. These have included antioxidants that selectively block mitochondrial oxidative damage. Among these molecules are derivatives of the natural antioxidants ubiquinone (MitoQ) and Vitamin E. The antioxidant efficacy of these molecules was increased considerably by targeting them to mitochondria, which are the major source of oxidative stress in mammalian cells. This was achieved by covalent attachment of the antioxidant to a lipophilic cation. Due to the large mitochondrial membrane potential, these cations accumulate several hundred fold within mitochondria, protecting them from oxidative damage far more effectively than untargeted antioxidants. This was extended to develop the related mitochondria-targeted nitric oxide donor, MitoSNO, which is protective against cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. In parallel work we have developed the mitochondria-targeted hydrogen peroxide probe MitoB, that enables us to utilise ex vivo mass spectrometry to assess mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide production in vivo. Here I will focus on how the used of these probes and bioactive molecules in helping to understand the role of mitochondrial redox processes in ageing.

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14:35-15:00 Nutrient-specific appetites and the nutritional ecology of healthy ageing

Professor Stephen J Simpson, University of Sydney

Abstract

Appetite is not a unitary phenomenon, rather there are nutrient-specific appetite systems, which have evolved to cooperate to help animals achieve a balanced diet. These specific appetites manage the vastly multidimensional challenge of balancing an animal's simultaneous and changing requirements for dozens of different macro and micro-nutrients and other food components (e.g. fibre). However, nutrient-specific appetites will compete rather than cooperate in an imbalanced nutritional environment, leading to the expression of regulatory priorities for some nutrients (e.g. protein) over others, with profound impacts on energy intake, health and ageing. I will explore these concepts using the Nutritional Geometry Framework, introducing data from a range of species, from slime moulds to humans.

Show speakers

15:20-15:40

Coffee

15:40-16:55

Translation

1 talk Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Steve Rees, VP Discovery Biology, Discovery Sciences, AstraZeneca

15:40-16:55 Panel discussion: how do we effectively prioritise and translate promising research into real world interventions?

Dr Gary Hickey, INVOLVE
Dr Greg Bailey, CEO of Juvenescence Ltd
Dr Fiona Marshall FMedSci, Head of Neuroscience Discovery and Head of the Discovery Research Centre in London, MSD

Show speakers

16:55-17:00

Closing remarks

17:00-18:00

Reception

14 February

08:30-09:00

Registration

09:00-10:40

Diagnosing and treating diseases of ageing 1

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Dr Fiona Marshall FMedSci, Head of Neuroscience Discovery and Head of the Discovery Research Centre in London, MSD

TBC

09:00-09:25 The Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease: Life-course Brain Health Initiatives in Science and Practice

Professor Craig Ritchie, Edinburgh Dementia Prevention, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Abstract

Over the last 10-15 years, major research initiatives led from within the UK are highlighting that the degenerative brain diseases which lead to dementia in late life have their genesis (at least) as early as midlife. This creates opportunities for early detection, risk profiling and implementation of personal prevention plans.

Cohort Data from projects like EPAD and the PREVENT Dementia Program combined with real world data as contained within the Scottish Brain Health Register can be explored to provide the empirical basis for accurate risk prediction decades before dementia develops. The implementation of these approaches will be through Brain Health Clinical Services being established outside the traditional memory clinics across the UK.

Novel and evidence based approaches to providing both individual and public health interventions to optimise brain health will yield tangible reductions in dementia incidence in the years ahead irrespective of the success or otherwise of developing new pharmacological interventions.

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09:25-09:50 Cognitive Aging and Dementia: A Life-Span Perspective

Dr Elliot M Tucker-Drob, Department of Psychology and Population Research Center, University of Texas

Abstract

In this presentation I review empirical findings and theoretical concepts in cognitive aging and late-life dementia research, with emphases on (a) person-to-person heterogeneity in trajectories of cognitive change over time, (b) how trajectories of child cognitive development determine peak levels of adult cognitive function from which aging-related cognitive declines occur, and (c) how lifelong trajectories of cognitive function relate to the timing of severe cognitive impairments characteristic of dementia. I consider conceptual issues surrounding categorical versus dimensional models of late-life dementia and discuss how current diagnostic approaches affect inferences in the empirical study of disease progression. Together, the incomplete current understanding of the biological foundations of aging-related cognitive declines and the continuous nature of many biomarkers commonly used in dementia diagnosis and classification pose both opportunities and challenges in the current research landscape.

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09:50-10:15 Insights towards the development of new medicines for dementia

Dr Jill Richardson, Senior Director, Discovery Research MRL UK, MSD

Abstract

There are approximately 47 million people living with dementia globally for which there are currently no disease‐modifying treatments. Despite over 125 clinical trials in Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the largest group of dementia patients, there are still only 4 approved symptomatic agents. With age being the biggest risk factor, the number of patients suffering with AD is expected to reach over 130 million by 2050 and so the unmet need will grow substantially over the coming decades. Whilst previous clinical failures have questioned the basic understanding of the biology of the disease, there have been new advances in the field from genetic studies, use of human cells and major improvements in imaging technologies. Using this information, a collaborative effort from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic sectors is now required to translate this basic research to the delivery of new treatments in the most appropriate stratified clinical population.

Show speakers

10:40-11:10

Coffee

11:10-12:25

Diagnosing and treating diseases of ageing 2

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Dr Fiona Marshall FMedSci, Head of Neuroscience Discovery and Head of the Discovery Research Centre in London, MSD

11:10-11:35 Multimorbidity: a life course approach to intervention

Professor Nish Chaturvedi, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL

Abstract

Multimorbidity, the existence of two or more chronic conditions, increases with age, affecting two thirds of people aged 65 plus. This has significant adverse consequences for frailty, hospital admission, loss of independence and mortality. Care guidelines focus on interventions for high risk individuals with established, advanced disease. Yet few evidence-based interventions are available, and at this late stage can only briefly postpone the inevitable consequences. A life course approach to understand social and biomedical determinants of multimorbidity, identify sensitive or critical periods, and discover measures to enhance resilience to its ill effects, should provide a more effective means of intervention and risk reduction.

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11:35-12:00 Designing new trials in inflammation: The Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme

Professor Chris Buckley, Kennedy Professor of Translational Rheumatology, Universities of Oxford and Birmingham

Abstract

The Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) is an alliance between the University of Oxford and Birmingham. Its aim is to use Basket trials, Bayesian statistics and Cell Based Outcome Measures to determine efficacy and de-risk early stage trials of drugs that target immune mediated inflammatory diseases. Working with seven different NHS Trusts along the M40 corridor, the A-TAP delivers "stratified pathology" namely process driven, pathway focused, studies to deliver the right drug for the right disease indication. This complements the current drive for "stratified medicine", which aims to deliver the right drug for the right patient. The A-TAP strategy has potential to be adopted in other areas such as ageing and multi-morbidity.

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12:00-12:25 Technology to increase patient compliance

Matt Bonam, AstraZeneca Biopharma R&D

Abstract

This talk summarises the issues with adherence and explores the reasons why patients are non-adherent. It will also explore the technologies available to improve adherence and provide reasons why so many solutions fail, as well as providing examples of successful solutions and the characteristics they share. Finally, Matt will show how designing technology solutions for an ageing population maximises the impact of these solutions in improving adherence and delivering improved clinical outcomes.

Show speakers

12:25-13:20

Lunch

13:20-15:00

Enhancing the experience of ageing

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Andrew Steptoe FMedSci, Professor of Psychology and Epidemiology, University College London

TBC

TBC

13:45-14:10 The Determinants and Effects of Meaning and Purpose in Aging

Tyler J VanderWeele, Harvard University, University of Oxford (Visiting)

Abstract

The presentation will give an overview of recent research on the role of meaning and purpose in aging. Analyses from the Health and Retirement Study and the Nurses' Health Study on the determinants and effects of meaning and purpose will be described. These analyses will include assessments of the effects of purpose on health, longevity, alleviating depression, and life satisfaction. Further attention will be given to what factors in a person's life create a sense of meaning and purpose. Various approaches on how to better track meaning and purpose throughout the life course will be presented, and discussion will be given to how "meaning" and "purpose", while often used interchangeably, in fact represent distinct constructs and may have different determinants and effects.

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14:35-15:00 The opportunities in Dementia

Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health NHS England/NHS Improvement

Abstract

Dementia is the biggest challenge facing health and social care. It affects some 850,000 people in the UK and is unique in the effect it has on carers of people with the condition. Costs are in the order of £26 billion per year and are divided between health and social care. Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and significant successes have been achieved over the last few years in terms of raising awareness of dementia, investment in research and increasing the number of people receiving a formal diagnosis.

Treatments for dementia and one of its commonest causes, Alzheimer's disease, have so far eluded science but advances are taking place. A large body of research directed at symptomatic improvement in people with the condition, support for them and importantly, for their carers and families, has been carried out.

The National Health Service's Long Term Plan provides the opportunity to significantly continue the improvement in terms of diagnosis and post diagnostic care.

Show speakers

15:00-15:30

Coffee

15:30-17:00

Inequalities and avoiding harm

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Andrew Steptoe FMedSci, Professor of Psychology and Epidemiology, University College London

15:30-16:00 Keynote speech - Current research directions and population need, contexts and futures for our ageing populations

Professor Carol Brayne CBE, Director of Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge

Abstract

This talk will attempt to bring together some of the implications of research and evidence presented at this conference. This will be contextualised drawing on relevant existing population representative and derived studies and broader multidisciplinary sources. In particular there will be a focus on changing life expectancies, Sustainable Development Goals and rapidly rising concern about our ability to address own own species impact on climate and environmental integrity. An ageing focus throws up a different perspective on these, including how we review and assess the evidence base to address current challenges and future scenarios.

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16:00-17:00 Panel discussion: Inequalities and avoiding harm

Professor Carol Brayne CBE, Director of Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge

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17:00-17:05

Closing remarks

Related events

Transforming our future: Healthy ageing

 

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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