October 28, 2013, Washington, DC – Today, the Alliance for Aging Research and The Gerontological Society of America applaud Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) for convening a Senate Special Committee on Aging roundtable to explore how as a nation we can break down research silos and strategically tackle aging as a major risk factor for chronic disease. Under Senator Nelson’s direction, leaders from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), prominent research institutions, and the private sector will convene at 4 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office building, Room 562, to discuss aging-oriented research and innovation approaches to ameliorating disease.
The Senate Roundtable will highlight a first-ever summit, Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease, taking place on October 30-31, 2013, at the Natcher Conference Center on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus. The Summit program was developed by the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) a recently- formed group focused on “geroscience,” the study of the relationship between aging and age-related disease and disability. The GSIG is among the largest trans-NIH interest groups, with 20 of the 27 institutes and centers at the NIH taking part.
“New realities of population aging and increases in age-related chronic disease call for new thinking on how biomedical research is funded” said Susan Peschin, MHS, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for Aging Research. “The great majority of medical research dollars goes to studies of diseases of aging such as cancer, heart ailments and diabetes in isolation from each other and largely divorced from the underlying aging processes that lead to all of them.”
“Less than one percent of the NIH’s annual budget typically funds research into the underlying biology of aging and its role in the onset of disease. Yet aging is the single greatest risk factor for nearly every major chronic disease individuals experience later in life” said James Appleby, RPh, MPH, Executive Director of The Gerontological Society of America. “Thankfully, there is a shift occurring.”
Other themes that will be highlighted at the roundtable include: cross-cutting collaboration occurring in the university setting and in the private sector; how the delay or prevention of age-related chronic diseases can help bend the health care cost curve; critical scientific challenges where disease-specific research is beneficial; and the effect of sequestration on NIH research overall.
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, DC, and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.