Co-founder of new Longevity course for physicians reveals plans to expand the program to science students and, ultimately, everyone.
Following yesterday’s news about the launch of Deep Longevity’s Longevity medicine course for physicians, we spoke with course co-founder Dr Evelyne Bischof, to learn more about the development of the program and its goals. Bischof, a medical doctor and Associate Professor at the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences, worked in collaboration with Deep Longevity’s Alex Zhavoronkov, Alexey Moskalev and others on the creation of the course.
Longevity.Technology: This initial course for medical professionals, and the subsequent modules that are in the pipeline, fill a very important gap in the Longevity market’s ‘supply-chain’ and scalable care-pathways. The significance of yesterday’s announcement from Deep Longevity shouldn’t be underestimated.
“There is a gap between developments in longevity medicine science – geroscience, biogerontology, omics, AI, imaging – and the clinic,” she explains. “And working together, we understood that other doctors do not have the chance to learn how to bridge that gap and how to actually implement those things in the clinic.”
While there is plenty of information on Longevity out there, Bischof points out that there is no real order or structure to helping physicians find reliable, evidence-based information.
“You can go on YouTube today and find loads of videos on longevity, but you can’t just put them all together into one curriculum,” she says, describing how the team worked together, day and night, on the science, clinical and educational aspects of the program.
“Beyond the lectures that you can always find everywhere, we developed quizzes for each section, and worked to make each slide understandable for a physician – taking this very complex science into actual implementation,” adds Bischof. “We probably spent most of our time on the development of the introduction of the course, because every single slide had to be carefully thought through to ensure it was understandable for physicians, that the learning objectives were clear, and, at the end, that the outcome and take-home messages are clear.”
The introductory course for physicians is now ready, via Harvard’s LabXchange Platform, with a curriculum, including guest lectures from key opinion leaders, standard lectures, animations and explainer videos, and quizzes. Bischof expects to receive CME accreditation for the introductory course “very soon”.
Subsequent, more advanced courses for physicians are being finalised and will be rolled-out in 2021, ultimately leading to a final course that will focus on clinical implementation for doctors. Plans are being made for the course to contribute to physicians’ continuous medical education (CME) – an annual requirement placed on healthcare professionals to keep themselves ‘topped-up’ with the latest science and clinical practice.
“Not only do we want to receive CME accreditation for this course, but we also want it to become a base for medical students to study in modules at universities, and we are working on that already,” says Bischof.
“At some point in time we want our course to have contributed to longevity medicine becoming a specialty – just like internal medicine, cardiology or oncology.”
As a medical doctor herself, Bischof feels that other physicians have much to gain from learning more about Longevity medicine.
“I hope that my clinical colleagues will also see the potential in longevity and develop a passion for it,” she says. “I would love them to understand that longevity medicine is not anti-aging, it’s not about prolonging life – it’s really about prolonging healthy lifespan, and knowing what tools we as physicians can use to really know a patient individually. More than personalised medicine, this is individualised medicine, on a precision level, driven by AI technology, to not only reduce the risk of the patient developing some diseases, but to actually mitigate it and even eliminate it.”
Bischof points out that while a clinician’s biggest goal is always to heal a patient, there is an increasing shift towards not letting a patient getting sick in the first place. With the depth and range of data now available, this is about much more than prevention in a general sense.
“If I know which genes will bring my patient at a certain age to a high risk of a chronic disease that will diminish his quality of life, and I can change that in one way or other, whether using very easy techniques, geroprotectors or further prevention therapies, then this is my goal,” she says. “I will not be happy that I cured cancer, I will be happy that I prevented it from happening.”
“Longevity medicine will become the medicine of the future …”
“And physicians are missing the train because we have so much other stuff to learn every single day. But if we don’t jump on the train right now to educate ourselves about it, then it will be too late. Having a course that is validated, credible, certified and approved by medical societies and bodies will hopefully help to change that.”
Beyond its initial focus on physicians, Deep Longevity is also working on courses for scientists and students studying sciences, which it will roll out through some university partners. This will enable students to complete a PhD in longevity medicine, longevity medicine sciences or experimental longevity medicine.
Ultimately, Bischof also wants to bring the course to a general public audience.
“This would be a course to make longevity medicine understandable to everyone, in a way that’s evidence-based,” she says, admitting that this will be the most challenging and therefore the last course to be rolled out. “So the ultimate goal is to create a network of longevity physicians that are certified and hopefully one day will be specialists, the same goes for the scientists and students, and finally that the patient is also educated about all the tools that the physician is able to offer.”