The BLAST group brings together top professionals from across the country to work towards common goals to help older people, and Dr. Miriam Stoppard says the future looks bright
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With an increasingly aging population, it’s up to scientists to find new ways to keep us healthy as we age. It’s a big challenge that brings together the best researchers from across the country.
The BLAST (Building Links in Aging Science and Translation) network is setting up research centers nationwide to find new tools to help us stay healthy longer, even studying conditions for which little can be done today.
It is hoped that the network can give us a better understanding of how the aging process causes disease. They want to find treatments to remove senescent (worn out) cells, which are known to be a major cause of aging, from body tissues and learn how to get those cells to function properly again.
BLAST is led by two of the UK’s top experts on ageing, Professor Richard Faragher of Brighton University and Professor Lynne Cox of University of Oxford. Professor Richard Hartley of University of Glasgow and dr Colin McClure of Queen’s University Belfast are also driving the work.
Speaking about the goals of the network, Dr. McClure: “People are living longer than ever, but unfortunately many in their later years suffer from a range of debilitating conditions that not only affect their quality of life but also place stress on the NHS and healthcare systems worldwide.” Leads as an interdisciplinary network BLAST different areas of aging research together to better put them into practice.
The hope is that new treatments and preventive measures will be identified that will extend the health span and ensure we enjoy our lives longer.
Professor Faragher said: “We are on the cusp of scientific developments that will transform health in later years.
“Now there is a race, and the countries and companies that can capitalize on the biology of aging will be able to shape global healthcare while life expectancy continues to rise to levels seen only by previous generations could dream.”
The BLAST project is a response to the UK government’s pledge to increase the population’s healthy life expectancy by a further five years by 2035 without increasing inequality. That’s a lot to ask, but with more collaborations like this, we could achieve that goal.
To this end, 10 other aging networks, bringing together 40 UK universities, have also been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.
And BLAST will play a key role in harmonizing and facilitating this new national effort for happier, longer lives.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/new-ageing-networks-searching-secret-26737138 "New Aging Networks in Search of the Secret to a Long, Happy Life" - Miriam Stoppard