Should we treat aging as a disease rather than something that’s inevitable?

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Image credit: Adobe Stock

In June 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases. It contained an important addition: “Code MG2A: Old age.”

This tiny line of text could be one of the most important documents in human history, potentially leading to medicines designed to tackle the world’s most common ailment – ageing itself – and one that causes almost all others. It could lead to a new regulatory attitude to ageing (currently the United States Food and Drug Administration does not see ageing as a legitimate target for healthcare), and to doctors being able to prescribe medicines to slow the condition.

That change in regulatory attitude may still be far off, but in the meantime, research is pressing ahead, and in 2019 we will see significant breakthroughs in the sector.

Related article:  'Living medicine': Reengineering bacteria to tackle genetic diseases

Calico, part of Alphabet, is exploring ways of capitalising on the anti-ageing work of geneticist Cynthia Kenyon. The California startup Unity Biotechnology is working to develop drugs that could remove the “zombie-like” cells that accumulate with age.

Contrary to what most people think, there is no biological law that says we must age. Indeed, as ageing is the most significant risk factor for almost all diseases, the true promise of ageing research isn’t simply extending lifespan; it’s the obliteration of disease itself.

Read full, original post: This is why we need to start treating ageing as a disease

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