Together against age-related diseases
Photo: Flickr / snre / CC BY 2.0

Almost every old person suffers from age-related diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart attack, diabetes type 2, macular degeneration, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease.

With today’s technologies and new scientific approaches, however, we now have a good chance to develop effective medicine against these age-related diseases, allowing old people to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

We, the Party for Health Research, want to hasten the development of such medicine. We intend to only deal with this one issue and leave all other political matters to the other parties.

Statistics show the magnitude of the problem: More than one third of all women and about half of all men suffer from cancer at some point during their lifetime.

The proportion of adults with diabetes type 2 is estimated to be between seven and eight percent and cardiovascular diseases, which occur predominantly in old age, are among the most frequent medical conditions. 24 percent of all people between the age of 70 and 85 have five or more diseases simultaneously. In Germany, there are currently almost 1.6 million people with dementia.

The fundamental causes of age-related diseases are already known to a great extent: In the case of aging, a multitude of molecular and cellular damage occurs, accumulating and over time leading to greater susceptibility to age-related diseases.

A possible approach for developing effective medicine against age-related diseases is to deal with this damage and therefore with the actual cause. The damage could be removed/repaired or the accumulation of it could be slowed down.

An example for such an approach is the removal of old cells which lost their original function. In mice, this leads to a substantial improvement of health in old animals 1. At this point in time, several world leading research groups are working on medicine for humans that can remove such aged cells.

Under the following link you can see the impressive result of a research group at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota: The two mice in the photo are the same age, but the mouse on the right side looks more vital and healthier because of its smooth fur and tight skin (of the ears). The left mouse is also untreated, while the right one has been subjected to a systemic therapy targeting senescent cells.

Photo: Effect of removal of senescent cells on mice

Scientists have identified several other categories of damage or damaging changes in old age together with intervention options 2.

The international scientific community has slowly begun to develop effective medicine and therapies which can combat age-related diseases causally instead of symptomatically. In order to achieve that more and more tools are becoming available.

Therefore, the more money we invest in this development today, the faster we can make progress and the faster we can stop the huge suffering caused by age-related diseases.

Thus, the Party for Health Research would like to invest an additional one percent of the government’s budget in the development of effective medicine against the diseases of old age. Because everyone is affected directly or indirectly by age-related diseases, everyone would benefit from this. To pay for this, one percent would be subtracted from each of the other budgetary items.

Half of this additional money would go towards the construction and operation of new research facilities and the other half would be invested in training more scientists in the relevant fields. For this, the respective university departments would be extended.

However, the faster development of effective medicine against age-related diseases is not only a question of solidarity and ethics. Germany would also enjoy large economic benefits. Today’s medical costs are already huge and will continue to grow with the upcoming demographic change. A reduction of age-related diseases would lead to an enormous economic benefit. Furthermore, this medicine against the diseases of old age will become the biggest industry ever as everybody needs it. By increasing the investments in this area, Germany will further extend its importance as a science location in Europe.

Young people will also benefit from this endeavor: In addition to the reduction of the financial burden, which will result from declining sickness costs, they wouldn’t have to see their parents suffer from Alzheimer’s anymore, for instance. More young people would get a valuable education. And last but not least, the young generation will also get old eventually and then rely on this medicine.

We now have the chance to drastically reduce the immense suffering caused by age-related diseases. But if we want to take this chance, we have to act now. Together, we can do this. We need your help and invite you to join us. Membership in our party is free, non-binding and cancellable via email at any time.

Let us get this movement started in Germany. Many other nations will then hopefully also soon invest more in the development of these urgently needed therapies against the diseases of old age.

  1. Baker, D. J., Childs, B. G., Durik, M., Wijers,
    M. E., Sieben, C. J., Zhong, J., … Van Deursen, J. M. (2016). Naturally occurring p16 Ink4a -positive cells shorten healthy lifespan. Nature, 530(7589), 1–5. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v530/n7589/full/nature16932.html
  2. López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The Hallmarks of Aging Europe PMC Funders Group. Cell June, 6(1536), 1194–121705. http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(13)00645-4