Understanding aging, as well as the genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms that intervene in this biological fact, is the key to understanding the origin of many diseases and maintaining a good quality of life for longer.
With this premise, and to deepen that knowledge and learn about the progress of aging research, "Geroscience" begins today in Madrid, an event that brings together scientists from many countries and is celebrated for the first time in Europe.
Aging represents an important risk factor for many chronic diseases and conditions and thousands of scientists around the world work to achieve more and better years of life and face aging as something unappealable but modifiable.
These international meetings (Geroscience) have been promoted for several years by the National Institute of Aging in the United States, and the Spanish event has been organized by the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER) of Fragility and Healthy Aging and the Gadea Foundation for The science.
Scientists are delving into knowledge today about how aging affects the onset and progression of chronic diseases – such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's – but also other conditions that worsen with age, such as frailty or lack of resilience.
The molecular biologist Manuel Serrano, co-organizer of the meeting, has stressed that many diseases are the result of "selective and accelerated" aging of some specific tissue, and cited as an example cardiovascular or neurodegenerative.
"Aging is not a disease, but rather a risk situation," Manuel Serrano, pioneer in the generation of genetically modified mice to be resistant to cancer and recognized worldwide as one of the leading researchers in EFE the field of tumor suppression.
He has referred to the challenge that for science and medicine involves advancing in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases or to control cancer, and stressed that new advances in aging are revealing new possible therapies to combat Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, but also that "we will have to wait years before knowing if these therapies are effective."
Unlike neurodegenerative diseases, "in which unfortunately there is little therapeutic progress," Serrano has stressed that progress in cancer treatment "is continuous" and behind them is – he said – the scientific knowledge accumulated during the last decades
Serrano, who worked at the Molecular Biology Center (mixed center of the CSIC and the Autonomous University of Madrid) with Margarita Salas and later at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, is currently carrying out his research work at the Research Institute Biomedical of Barcelona, where he has expanded his research on aging and cell reprogramming.
The researcher has stressed that scientific advances are always applicable to human health, "although it is almost always a slow process that takes many years", and has cited as an example the mechanisms of protection against cancer, which have generated anti-therapies cancer that are used in hospitals.
In his opinion, as longevity is prolonged, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, "which are the least controllable," will also increase, but has influenced the fact that one of the factors that will determine aging will be the lifestyle of people (healthy habits, balanced eating or physical exercise).
Manuel Serrano stressed that the goal of science and research is not immortality, but to improve the treatment of diseases typical of aging, with an eye on helping to maintain a satisfactory quality of life for as long as possible.
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