A Grand Challenge in Need of a Grand Solution

The President announced plans late last year to create a National Bioeconomy Blueprint. This Blueprint would detail government-wide steps “to harness biological research innovations to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment.” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently solicited comments to inform the Blueprint.

Recognizing that one of the greatest health challenges of our time is upon us, the Alliance for Aging Research posed a study by Dr. David Cutler of Harvard University showed that health near traditional retirement age has improved markedly over time. He found that people who were aged 62 in the 1960s or 1970s were in equivalent health to people today aged 70 or more. On the one had this is promising news because people in their 70s are living healthier and productive lives, unfortunately they remain vulnerable to diseases like Alzheimer’s and some cancers for which there are no effective treatments or cures.

We believe that supporting research leading to a better understanding of the aging process and how it contributes to our vulnerability for age-related diseases could be the solution that allows Americans to live the lives they want in later life—increasing their healthspan . Let’s hope the Obama Administration agrees.