What if we could delay ageing?

Many chronic diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis or osteoarthritis, are age related. Our age is the main reason for us to develop these diseases, so why not treat the trigger itself as a disease?

Dr. Marco Demaria, scientist at the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA), argues that treating age as a disease would help us to develop better drugs and interventions and focus on the main trigger: age. In 2018, he co-founded the company “Cleara Biotech” with a mission: target cellular ageing and develop anti-ageing drugs.

Ageing is the underlying cause

Passionate about this field of research, Dr. Demaria explains: “Ageing is the underlying cause of virtually every disease and affects every individual. Possibilities to have an impact are immense. To add to this, ageing is still a poorly understood phenomenon”. Dr. Demaria studies the causes and consequences of cellular ageing, thereby trying to develop strategies to prevent cells from ageing. Once the cells are prevented from ageing, or eliminated, they wouldn’t be able to be the cause of age-related diseases anymore. This way, we wouldn’t need to focus on one specific age-related disease, but we would tackle them all. To specify outcomes of interventions, which can be done through clinical trials, we would however need to categorize age as a disease.

Eliminate aged cells

Dr. Demaria’s goal is clear: reaching clinical trials with drugs that can eliminate aged cells and that can be used to extend human health span. To reach clinical trials, he tries to demonstrate with his research that ageing is a valid target in humans. 

Collaborations and stakeholders

In order to achieve this goal, he collaborates with clinicians and private investors, who are stakeholders in this project. For them the main change that will be achieved is the development of new interventions for ageing and the conceptual advance in treating ageing as a disease. “Policy makers would be beneficial collaborators to connect to the project, particularly if we want to have ageing defined as a disease”, Dr. Demaria adds. He also mentions pharmacy corporations as potential future stakeholders. He is working on the involvement of both policy makers and pharmacy corporations.

With this project Dr. Demaria and his team aim to improve quality of life of people as a long-term outcome.