The future of treating aging

Krystle Kalafut*, Morgan Janes, and Francesca Riccio-Ackerman

Edited by Ekaterina Titarenko and Grant A. Knappe

Article | Aug. 29 2022


DOI: 10.38105/spr.d97k21lnkj


  • The number of individuals above the age of 65 is increasing around the world, and an estimated one in four Americans will be aged 65 years or older by 2060
  • The ongoing demographic shift presents a public health challenge due to the increased risk of chronic diseases in older adults, necessitating adaptations to the current healthcare system
  • Research in the field of geroscience has identified a set of core underlying biological features of the aging process, referred to as the “hallmarks of aging”
  • Several promising interventions targeting the hallmarks of aging, including dietary restriction, as well as drugs approved for other disease indications, have been successful in extending health in animal models
  • Efforts to identify reliable biomarkers of the aging process, define the indication for use of geroscience-guided therapies, and determine appropriate clinical trial design will be instrumental in the translation of novel therapies to improve healthy longevity in humans

Article Summary

The number of adults aged 65 and older in the United States and globally is expected to nearly double in size by 2050. It will be necessary to devise strategies spanning the science, healthcare, and regulatory sectors to support the growing number of older adults and adapt to the changes of population aging. Given the greater disease risk in older individuals, this population shift also presents new opportunities for research and development of both preventive and therapeutic interventions that target a wide range of chronic conditions. Many previous articles have focused on the advantages and drawbacks of classifying aging as a disease, which we briefly summarize. Then, we focus on the discussion of actionable steps to adapt the healthcare system and clinical regulatory frameworks to support research in geroscience, develop novel therapeutics that delay the biological aging process, and promote the translation of these therapies to patients.

Open Access


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Krystle Kalafut

Department of Molecular Metabolism, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States

Morgan Janes

Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States

Francesca Riccio-Ackerman

Biomechatronics Group, Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA