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The 8th Annual Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD21) meeting was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from August 30 to September 3, 2021. This meeting was attended by over 130 people on-site, with an additional 1800 people engaged online. The focus of this meeting was the current landscape of aging research and various ways it can be applied to drug discovery. Topics included: age-dependent control of cellular maintenance processes, longevity pathways, artificial intelligence-based drug screening, cellular stress and aging, the benefits of dietary restriction, stem cell rejuvenation, senolytics as an aging therapeutic, diverse models of aging, aging clocks and biomarkers of aging, new ideas in preclinical and clinical aging research, the longevity industry landscape, and a Longevity Medicine Workshop.
In total, there were 75 presentations given at ARDD21 by prominent and dedicated aging researchers. The meeting was thoroughly summarized in a paper published in Aging (Aging-US) Volume 14, Issue 2, entitled, “Meeting Report: Aging Research and Drug Discovery.”
ARDD21 Meeting Report Highlights
One of the keynote presentations was given by Nir Barzilai from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He discussed his work on aging and how it can be applied to drug discovery. One interesting finding that he discussed was that many drugs currently used to treat chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, also have the potential to treat aging. This is due to the fact that many diseases are symptoms of aging, and thus, treating the underlying cause (aging) can in turn treat the symptoms.
Another keynote presentation was given by James Kirkland from the Mayo Clinic. He discussed his work on developing therapies to target senescent cells. Senescent cells can accumulate with age, and their presence has been linked with a variety of age-related conditions such as arthritis, cancer and heart disease. Kirkland’s team has developed potential therapies to eliminate or reduce the number of senescent cells in the body, and he is currently testing them in clinical trials.
Professor Dame Linda Partridge from Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing presented on aging and the importance of intestinal homeostasis. Her studies involved rapamycin treatment to act on the longevity pathway mTOR, which revealed that short term and early treatment with rapamycin extends lifespan in D. melanogaster as much as chronic rapamycin treatment. Yu-Xuan Lu, another researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, demonstrated the existence of an unconventional intestine sex-specific TORC1-histone axis which uncovers a new aspect of improved longevity with rapamycin.
Brian Kennedy from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, National University of Singapore and National University Health System showed how Alzheimer’s disease can be used as a model of neuronal aging. Presenting their new WormBot, Matt Kaeberlein from the University of Washington described a “set it and forget it” method of large-scale intervention testing in roundworms (C. elegans).
“He stressed the importance of broad and unbiased screening of intervention beyond known pathways and in different combinations .”
Aging (Aging-US) Editorial Board member Alexey Moskalev from the Russian Academy of Sciences presented on the disruption of hydrogen sulfide homeostasis and its association with aging, and therefore, its potential as a gero-therapeutic target. David Sinclair from Harvard Medical School (also on the Aging Editorial Board) discussed aging-driven epigenetic and gene expression changes in the central nervous system. He showed that this can be safely reversed to restore vision by inducible adeno-associated viruses expressing polycistronic Oct4, Sox2 and Kif4, and that the effect is dependent on DNA demethylation. Finally, a Longevity Medicine Workshop was held with a panel of experts aimed to inspire young students to engage in longevity research. This panel included Aging Editorial Board members Alex Zhavoronkov, Alexey Moskalev and Mikhail Blagosklonny (Editor-In-Chief).
Overall, the ARDD21 meeting was a fruitful exhibition of experts from all areas of aging research that came together to share their latest findings in the field. The highlights in this blog pale in comparison to the thoughtful details included in the original meeting report.
Click here to read the full meeting report published by Aging (Aging-US).
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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available to read at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals offer information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out and may be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.
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