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Aging Organizations Join Forces with NIH to hold First-Ever Summit on Geroscience

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2013

GSA Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Alliance Contact: Cynthia Bens
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(202) 293-2856

The Alliance for Aging Research and The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) are proud to serve as co-sponsors of a first-ever summit, Advances in Geroscience: Impact on Healthspan and Chronic Disease, taking place on October 30 and 31, 2013, at the Natcher Conference Center on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus.  This scientific conference includes 50 renowned scientists who will discuss the extent to which the physiological effects of aging represent a common major risk factor for most chronic diseases affecting the aging population. 

The Summit program (view agenda) was developed by the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) a recently-formed group focused on “geroscience,” the study of the relationship between aging and age-related disease and disability. The GSIG is among the largest trans-NIH interest groups, with 20 of the 27 institutes and centers at the NIH taking part. The objectives of the summit are: to use the foundational concepts of geroscience to understand basic cellular and molecular underpinnings of aging as a principal risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases; to explore common mechanisms governing relationships between aging and chronic diseases; and to identify new pathways for research collaboration.

“Scientists who study aging are in general agreement that the process isn’t set in stone—the aging process can be sped up by genetics or poor lifestyle choices, but it can also be slowed down” said Susan Peschin, MHS, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for Aging Research.  “With sufficient funding and focus, research that slows aging has the potential to extend healthy years of life, and simultaneously postpone the costly and harmful conditions of old age.”

“If aging can be slowed, geroscience holds the promise of prevention rather than management of diseases after they have struck,” said James Appleby, RPh, MPH, Executive Director of The Gerontological Society of America. “Rather than curing one illness only to have another take its place, research and investment to delay aging can lead to lowering risks for all fatal and disabling diseases simultaneously.”

In addition to a plenary session launched by Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the NIH, there will be seven scientific sessions on inflammation, adaptation to stress, epigenetics and regulatory RNA, metabolism, macromolecular damage, proteostasis, and stem cells and regeneration.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, DC, and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers.

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