The search for a treatment for ageing

Bioethics Briefing Note

Published 10/01/2018

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The search for a treatment for ageing explores the latest scientific developments in the burgeoning field of ageing research, and identifies the key ethical and social issues raised.

In November 2016, we held a workshop to bring together experts from a range of fields to explore the ethical, social and policy issues raised by research that seeks to slow or prevent the biological processes of ageing. We also commissioned a background paper on longevity.

Overview

  • Geroscience research is exploring interventions that delay biological ageing and reduce the risk of age-related diseases and conditions.
  • Strong market demand is driving investment in geroscience research, particularly in the US. Investment in this area has been highlighted as a key opportunity for the UK in the future.
  • Animal research has led to the discovery of several potential interventions for ageing and some are already being tested in human clinical trials.
  • Many uncertainties remain about the effects that treatments for ageing would have on human health span and lifespan, the economy, models of care, health inequalities,personal identity, and how people work and live later in life.
  • There are calls for an ethical framework for geroscience research to help guide researchers, policy makers and consumers.

Project team

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Catherine Joynson

Assistant Director

Catherine is part of the senior management team. She is responsible for leading a range of Council projects including the active response programme (e.g. Bioethics briefing notes) and its horizon scanning work. Catherine speaks on behalf of the Council on a range of ethical issues.

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Ran Svenning Berg

Research Officer (Maternity leave)

Ranveig undertakes research to support the Council’s work and monitors developments in areas of interest to the Council. Prior to this she was the Communications Officer at the Council, and before that managed communications at the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and completed a BA in Development Studies and International Relations at London Metropolitan University.

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Arzoo Ahmed

Research Officer (maternity cover)

Arzoo is undertaking research as part of the Council’s active response programme and its horizon scanning work. Prior to joining the Council, Arzoo was director at the Centre for Islam and Medicine and a research associate at the Office for Public Management. Arzoo is completing an MA in philosophy at King’s College London, and graduated with a BA in Physics and an MPhil in Medieval Arabic Thought from the University of Oxford.

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