The search for a treatment for ageing

Bioethics Briefing Note

Published 10/01/2018

Ageing cover
Elderly person hand hold

Investment in ageing research

Large amounts of public and private funding are being directed towards research on ageing, driven by strong market demand. The US is the world leader in geroscience, with several government-funded research programmes on ageing, such as the US National Institute on Aging, and a number of biotechnology companies exploring potential ageing interventions, many backed by wealthy entrepreneurs. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, for example, have launched biotechnology company Calico, which is seeking to “devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives”. Anti-ageing biotech has been described as: “risky and most likely to fail, but if one company is successful the outcomes would be monumental”.

Geroscience research groups and companies also exist in almost every other developed country in the world, with particularly active centres in Germany, Spain, Australia, and the UK. However, a recent Government strategy for the life sciences suggests that the UK has been underperforming in the field of ageing research, and investment in this field is highlighted as a key opportunity for the UK in the future.

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