Healthy longevity policy recommendation gains EU traction

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A recommendation for a commitment to longevity research, focused geroprotective clinical trials and fair access to both is gaining traction in the EU.

The Conference on the Future of Europe describes itself as “a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities,” with The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission committed to listen, and to “follow up, within their sphere of competences, on the recommendations made.” All European citizens can take part and the Conference is expected to reach conclusions and provide guidance on the future of Europe by spring next year.

Longevity.Technology: There are a range of topics, but the one for us, of course, is health. From the 93 ideas submitted, the one with the most endorsements – nearly one hundred more than the next contender – is the European Longevity Initiative’s. Like the Initiative, we feel that healthy longevity strategy is the most pressing health issue, both in the EU and globally (indeed, as we identified in our recently launched Longevity Supplements report, 1 in 4 Europeans could be aged over 65 by 2050), and Initiative founder Attila Csordas offers his perspective on its recommendation.

The European Longevity Initiative (ELI) is an advocacy group with members from more than thirteen EU countries; it counts scientists, entrepreneurs and professionals from relevant categories among its members.

Longevity.Technology recently published ELI’s Opinion Piece and Detailed Commentary on the EU Green Paper on Ageing, and in responding to the Conference call for recommendations, the Initiative is continuing to push for longevity research.

The Initiative recommends: “We would like to propose effective legal, budgetary, regulatory and institutional commitments to enable science intensive healthy longevity research and technologies, large scale aging focused geroprotective clinical trials and equitable access to these technologies to increase healthy life expectancy in the European Union.”

Attila Csordas
Attila Csordas, the aging biologist, proteomics bioinformatician and longevity philosopher.

The idea that health policies need to be reshaped in favour of prevention rather than cure is gaining traction. Tina Woods, Secretariat Director of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity in the UK, told us: “We need systems that are really going to deliver on preventative better and equitable access to better health for everybody.”

Dr Lynne Cox is Associate Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, told Longevity.Technology that trials of potential geroprotective therapies should be initiated as soon as possible, because by understanding and targeting the biology of aging, diseases of aging can be delayed, cured, or even prevented entirely.

Last month German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “I believe that Europe needs more competencies in the area of health. This will probably also require changes to the treaties [1].”

 


 

“The popularity of our proposal might actually serve as a turning point in longevity advocacy within Europe, giving way to focused and organised longevity politics building a step-by-step action plan, built upon science … and fuelled by the radical need of people realising it as their opportunity of a lifetime.”

 


 

Seeing how popular the ELI recommendation is, we reached out to the Initiative’s founder Attila Csordas, the aging biologist, proteomics bioinformatician and longevity philosopher.

“Since there is no other fundamental approach that could effectively tackle the societal and individual problem of accelerated biological aging but science-intensive healthy longevity technologies, the question is not whether these technologies should be developed and be made accessible for all citizens, but when exactly this is going to happen and how,” he told Longevity.Technology. “When is the point where the political establishment realises there’s no other way but to embrace them in principle and put societies on a practical trajectory where the en masse preventive biomedical slowing/stopping/reversing of these damaging aging processes will be the norm?

“With the public debate around the Green Paper on Ageing and the Conference on the Future of Europe the EU itself provided the apropos and tools for the next stage of European healthy longevity activism for the small, but prepared network of the European Longevity Initiative, including affiliated organisations.

 


 

“Biological aging can be controlled with scientific means and chronological aging should not be a ‘natural’ burden … 6 out 10 people in the EU over 65 years of age have their life compromised one way or another by their declining health.”

 


 

“The popularity of our proposal might actually serve as a turning point in longevity advocacy within Europe, giving way to focused and organised longevity politics building a step-by-step action plan, built upon science, conceptualised and thoroughly argued at a philosophical depth, and fuelled by the radical need of people realising it as their opportunity of a lifetime.

“We have signatures from most EU countries, from prominent academic aging researchers to family doctors, from green party politicians to insurance people, coders and entrepreneurs, representing different working generations, from Ireland to Romania, from Sweden to Italy. They all understood something crucial: biological aging can be controlled with scientific means and chronological aging should not be a ‘natural’ burden. According to data in the 2020 Ageing Europe Report, 6 out 10 people in the EU over 65 years of age have their life compromised one way or another by their declining health. If EU top politics does not act upon this, and does not enable healthy longevity tech in the EU on a large scale, most of the ongoing efforts in the private and public innovation space will be in vain.”

The European Longevity Initiative’s recommendation Science-intensive healthy longevity technologies: development and access can be viewed HERE.

[1] https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-coronavirus-europe-treaty-changes-health-policy/

Image credits: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock and Attila Csordas
Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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