The recently concluded EU project of the 7th European Framework Program „Biomarkers of aging“/MARK-AGE determined the most relevant physiological factors of aging and combined them into a formula. The project involved 26 research groups from 14 countries and about 3,700 subjects.
It is the largest of its type ever undertaken. The project received financial support from the EU Commission at the maximum level of 12 million Euros which underlines the significance of the subject of longevity both for leading research as well as the society. Professor Alexander Bürkle from the University of Konstanz coordinated the project. Dr Andrea Nestl from the Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) is responsible for the protection of the intellectual property developed by the project and for its commercialisation.
The biological age of a person can deviate significantly from the calendar age, depending on genetic predispositions, lifestyle and environmental factors. How far aging has progressed can therefore only be determined in a vague sense by referring to the calendar age of a person. More informative are however biological markers which measure age-related changes of the body. The extensive population study of MARK-AGE allowed for the first time the identification of a set of biomarkers related to the process of aging which, as a whole, provides a better measure of the biological age than each marker taken separately. It was surprising to find that the weighting of age-relevant markers is different for women than it is for men.
„The hope for individuals as well as for society is that based on the results of the analysis possible risks regarding later illness or disease may be recognized early and suitable preventive measures could then be taken. ‘Successfully aging’ in this sense means mainly healthy aging and prevention or better management of typical age-related diseases such as arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer and other neurodegenerative illnesses“, says Professor Bürkle. „Those who are biologically relatively young have the certitude that they are doing a lot of things right in terms of their lifestyle and this may encourage them to optimize it further.“
The aging formula is particularly valuable because it leads to an objective result which is based solely on blood and urine tests. Parameters that can potentially be manipulated by patients have been removed as part of the project to ensure that a reproducible and reliable result is achieved.
The formula for a long life will be available shortly. First, however, there is a need to simplify the analytical methods for some of the parameters so that they can be carried out routinely and easily by medical diagnostic laboratories.
Longevity as Benchmark
„The goal of the MARK-AGE study was to investigate as many parameters as possible for a specific individual. It was a matter of finding biomarkers which were independent of each other, in other words each biomarker taken separately is meaningful. Depending on their significance, the markers were ranked and combined into a generally valid formula“, Professor Alexander Bürkle explains.
During the large-scale 5 year study, samples from about 3,700 study participants from eight of the participating countries were analyzed by biochemical and molecular processes, an endeavour which required an incredible logistical effort. Most of the study participants were drawn from the general population and were between 35 and 74 years of age. As a comparison and as a positive control, the current study used the descendants of participants in a previous study, the large GEHA Study (GEnetics of Healthy Aging) of the 6th European Framework Program under the leadership of Professor Claudio Franceschi of the University of Bologna. The aim of the GEHA Study was to determine which genes were responsible for longevity. All GEHA participants were over 90 years old and very healthy and had at least one sibling with the same characteristics.
Each participating MARK-AGE research group focused on different known aging factors or discovered new factors. The samples were collected centrally in the MARK-AGE BioBank at the University of Hohenheim and were analyzed in a data base at the University of Konstanz.
Creator of Your Own Destiny
It has been known for some time that aging is not mainly determined by genetic factors over which individuals have no control but rather by factors that individuals can influence significantly, for example through a healthy lifestyle.
The bottom line is that influencing the aging process is to a major degree in the hands of the individual concerned. „Somebody who changes over to a healthy lifestyle can expect that within three months his or her test results from the aging formula will change for the better “, explains Professor Bürkle.
Dr Andrea Nestl, from the Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) in Karlsruhe, is responsible for the patent strategy, marketing and commercialisation of the invention. Dr Nestl says: „The theme of ‚Longevity and Healthy Aging‘ is of growing interest to society. We are convinced of the importance of this topic and its economic significance; we have therefore established a strong and strategic intellectual property protection regime. The valid biomarkers of the aging present a major advance for the preventative medicine. It does not only play an important role in an individual’s health but also represents an important contribution to addressing the aging of our industrial society.“
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy