Research Article: It is necessary to establish an International Agency for Research on Aging

Date Published: May 12, 2018

Publisher: Impact Journals

Author(s): Vladimir N. Anisimov, Alexandre V. Sidorenko.


The global aging of human population is one of the main challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Establishing an International Agency for Research on Aging as an entity affiliated to one of the intergovernmental institutions, such as the World Health Organization, can be crucial for promoting international collaboration in gerontology, in particular in a search of effective and safe geroprotectors for humans.

Partial Text

Extending healthy lifespan is one of the main goals of gerontology and preventive medicine [1–5]. Recent experimental studies suggest that medications targeting aging (antioxidants, calorie restriction mimetics, autophagy inducers, etc.) can promote health and extend healthy lifespan of various animal species [2–5]. At present, more than 200 substances are listed in the database [6,7].

In 2003, the US National Institute on Aging started the Aging Interventions Testing Programme (ITP) intended to test interventions that have a potential to extend lifespan and postpone or prevent age-associated diseases and dysfunctions [12]. Among such interventions and substances are pharmacological drugs, nutriceutics, diets, plant extracts, hormones, peptides, amino acids, chelating agents, antioxidants, etc. In the framework of ITP, aspirin, nordihydroguiaretic acid, nitrofluorodiprophen, rapamycin, resveratrol and some other drugs were studied. Priority was given to the substances that are easily available, have a reasonable commercial price and can be administered preferentially with food or drinking water. The ITP protocol includes two phases. In the first phase, the ability of a drug to increase lifespan is studied. Other parameters, such as animal’s activity at various ages, metabolic hormone levels, and blood T-lymphocyte counts are also examined. In the second phase, drugs showing promising results are studied more thoroughly to reveal candidates for further clinical trials. Behavioral and cognitive experiments, assessments of the oxidative state, and postmortem pathomorphological examinations are carried out in the second phase.

In 2000, an international program on the assessment of the efficacy and safety of geroprotectors was proposed [16]. It was suggested that the proposed program could be established under the auspices of the United Nations Program on Aging, the World Health Organization, and the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics. Unfortunately, the proposed program has not been implemented. We believe that it is worth reverting to that earlier proposal.

Whereas the main challenge for healthcare in the 20th century had been the rapid increase in morbidity and mortality from malignant neoplasms, in the 21st century the primary challenge will be the effects of global aging on public and individual health. Therefore, the establishment of an International Agency for Research on Aging (IARA) under the auspices of the World Health Organization, similar to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is expedient. IARC, which recently celebrated its 50 anniversary [20], is a multi-disciplinary research institution bringing together experts in epidemiology, basic research and biostatistics for identifying the causes of cancer. The ultimate goal of IARC is to reduce the burden of the disease by adopting the preventive measures. A significant feature of the IARC as an independent international organization is its expertise in coordinating research across countries and organizations. The IARC has a particular interest in conducting research in low and middle-income countries through partnerships and collaborations with researchers in these regions. Since 1971, in the framework of the IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, working groups of expert have critically reviewed the published studies and evaluated the weight of evidence on more than 900 agents. Starting in 1995, the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention series have provided evaluations of the cancer-preventive potential of numerous agents and interventions. IARC plays a key role in establishing cancer registries around the world and in monitoring cancer burden worldwide and its geographical variations and trends over time. Education and training programs are also among central aspects of IARC activity. Initially founded by six countries in 1965, IARC memberships has grown as of today up to 25 countries. Over 50 years IARC has shaped the scope of cancer research [23].




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