The search for a treatment for ageing

Bioethics Briefing Note

Published 10/01/2018

Ageing cover
Elderly person hand hold

2016 workshop

On 30 November 2016 the Council held a roundtable meeting 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 – known as biogerontology. The discussion was chaired by Julian Hughes, Deputy Chair of Council and RICE Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Bristol.

Download a note of the meeting

  • Key questions and issues discussed included:
  • What has this field of research achieved so far and what is it likely to achieve in the near future?
  • What should be the aims of research on the biological processes of ageing? For example, should the aim be quantity of quality of life, or something else?
  • What are the ethical issues that arise as a consequence of any particular notion of successful ageing?
  • How should we conceptualise ageing? For example, should we think of it as a disease to be treated?
  • What will be the consequences of research on the biological processes of ageing, for individuals, for society and globally?

Background paper

In 2015, we commissioned a background paper on longevity to find out more about the topic. Read the paper.

Author: Dr Hans-Jörg Ehni, Deputy Director, Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany

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