New Healthspan Campaign Brings Focus to “Common Denominator” of Major Chronic Diseases—Aging Itself

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2012
The Alliance for Aging Research
Contact: Mimi Carter at 571-218-0951

New Healthspan Campaign Brings Focus to “Common Denominator” of Major Chronic Diseases—Aging Itself

Alliance for Aging Research and Buck Institute for Aging Research Urge Support for Aging Research to Add Healthy Years to Life

Washington, D.C. – Today the Alliance for Aging Research is holding a press conference to announce their new Healthspan Campaign and release a new report—The Transformative Promise of Aging Science. The report, written by noted science journalist and author David Stipp details the social, economic, and political underpinnings for a well-coordinated, and well-funded, aging research initiative. In addition to outlining the link between aging and age-related disease, this ground-breaking report covers the potential economic and human gains from advances in this science and includes policy recommendations for increased Federal investment. 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.

“There are currently 10,000 Americans a day turning 65; by 2030, about one in five Americans will be past that age,” says 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.”

Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging states, “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. The Buck Institute supports 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.”

According to the RAND Corporation, “a drug capable of adding ten healthy 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 we certainly want to continue to put resources towards those diseases, very little is being spent on the fundamental problem of aging itself. Less than 1% of the National Institutes for Health’s (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.

The Alliance for Aging Research is pressing the Healthspan Campaign in partnership with the American Federation for Aging Research, the Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the Einstein Institute for Aging Research, the Gerontological Society of America, and the SENS Foundation,

The Alliance for Aging Research will unveil its new report on Wednesday, March 28th at noon. The event will take place in room 124 in the Senate Dirksen Office Building immediately following the hearing on NIH Fiscal Year 2013 funding.

For more information on the new Healthspan Campaign or to download a copy of the report, click here. To schedule an interview with a spokesperson, contact Mimi Carter at 571-218-0951.

The Alliance for Aging Research, www.AgingResearch.org, is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of medical discoveries to improve the universal experience of aging and health.

The Buck Institute, located in Novato, CA, is the nation’s first independent research facility focused solely on understanding the connection between aging and chronic disease. Our mission is to extend Healthspan, the healthy years of life.