Speakers Dr. Laura Niedernhofer and Dr. Paul Robbins from the University of Minnesota. They spoke on aging. 10,000 people turn 65 every day in America. By 2030, the number of individuals aged 65 and older will exceed those under 20. This is the greatest biomedical challenge we are facing today given that old age is the greatest risk factor for most chronic diseases. Bold and new approaches are needed.

Dr. Niedernhofer and Dr Robbins shared that Living longer certainly sounds appealing, unless it simply means more years of dealing with the ills and ailments of old age. 

At the University of Minnesota Medical School, researchers are working toward a better option: a prolonged period of healthy life before the onset of diseases commonly associated with aging. Instead of a longer lifespan, this lengthened “healthspan” would mean more years to work, travel, and pursue an active lifestyle. Dementia, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other disabling conditions would be delayed — or possibly prevented. 

A healthier old age is looking increasingly possible, says Laura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U’s new Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism (iBAM), where she and colleagues are working to develop drugs that slow aging at the cellular level. Called senolytics, these drugs would offer huge benefits across society, Niedernhofer says. More than 90 percent of people over 65 have one chronic disease, she says, and 75 percent have two or more chronic diseases; 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 every day.  

“That’s a lot of sick people and it just robs quality of life, not only for them but for their family members who are caretakers,” Niedernhofer says. “What we’re aiming to do is work very aggressively on developing therapeutics that target fundamental aging processes with the hope that they would then slow or prevent or attenuate the whole suite of diseases we expect in old age, from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Niedernhofer mentioned the TAME Trail. 

What is the TAME Trial? Link

Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) is a novel clinical trial, that will test whether the drug metformin, a widely-used treatment for type 2 diabetes, can delay the onset of age-related diseases and conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional Information and video link