How to organize clinical trials on longevity
Diseases related to old age are responsible for 70 % of deaths worldwide and 90 % in European countries. The only way to prevent illnesses linked to aging is to attack the root cause – that is aging itself. It is time to start working towards solutions to this universal human tragedy. Aging doesn’t just cause innumerable deaths, it is also the source of many debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, muscle wasting, decline of vision and hearing, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, …
A longer and healthier life is enjoyed by the citizens who can benefit from it. Longevity is potentially useful for a sustainable environment and for a peaceful society.
How to inform ethicists, researchers and stakeholders? How can we have a "Moonshot longevity vision at the European level, maybe even at a larger level"? Can we consider research for a longer life as a moral obligation, a duty to rescue, a guarantee for a better future world? It is necessary to compare common aspects of the ideas of the mainstream stakeholders and the general public to the objectives of "longevists" concerning: Environmental aspects, Questions related to non-violence, Objectives of equality and equity, Priority for the weakest/oldest/frailest.
We should favor the possibility for well-informed citizens to make clinical tests for longevity in the following fields: Genomics and gene therapies, new drugs, stem cells, restorative nanotechnologies. There are improvements possible for the testing protocols, the recruitment procedures, the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases and the legal frameworks, especially the rules making it more difficult for older patients to take part in clinical tests. This will enhance the existing testing capabilities of many involved scientists.
The current state of policy and funding for aging research, especially in Belgium and other countries of the EU is promising. However, a paradigm shift from classical research to research specifically aimed to decrease and even stop senescence is important.