Over the last few years, anti-aging medicine has received increasing attention in both public and scientific communities. Public interest in this area of research is largely driven by media attention related to recent developments in regenerative medicine and genome modification technologies. Probably the most famous example of that is the case of Elizabeth Parrish, the CEO of Seattle-based biotech firm BioViva, who claims that she had managed to reverse her own aging process with CRISPR gene editing technology by receiving a treatment targeting two gene loci, one a gene controlling telomere length and the other to protect against loss of muscle mass with age. Even though no confirmation has been received so far on whether or not this technology successfully changed her genome, many safety, ethical and regulatory issues are raised from this case. First of all, this concern is related to possible side effects associated with the use of this technology, primarily cancer. In this respect, using the more conventional pharmacologically based approach seems a reasonable alternative, particularly since many natural and synthetic agents have shown great potential for promoting health and longevity in numerous animal models. Among them, the most attention is currently drawn to rapamycin, resveratrol and the antidiabetic drug metformin. The last one was recently approved by the FDA to be examined in the Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) clinical trial to establish whether it may reduce the risk for aging-associated pathologies, such as cognitive impairments, cardiovascular disease and cancer, in non-diabetic persons. If successful, the TAME study would be the first demonstration that a particular drug can prevent or delay the onset of aging-associated chronic human disorders. It might provide a novel regulatory pathway for further clinical trials of pharmaceuticals specifically designed to slow the aging process.
The present volume is the first one devoted entirely to the pharmacological aspects of anti-aging medicine. It provides a comprehensive overview of current research aimed to search for natural and synthetic compounds that can potentially be developed as drugs for treating aging-related chronic pathologies and, ultimately, for healthy life extension. In the first section of the book, the basic conceptual and methodological aspects of modern anti-aging medicine are described. The next sections are concerned with the main classes of lifespan-promoting agents, such as antioxidants, calorie restriction mimetics, epigenome-targeted drugs and phytochemicals with health-promoting properties. In the subsequent sections, the strategies for translation of research findings in the field of anti-aging medicine into clinical and healthcare practice as well as opportunities and challenges related to the implementation of such approaches are discussed. This volume constitutes a comprehensive collection of chapters written by leading experts in the field. It will be a relevant and useful resource not only for professional scientists and clinicians, but also for scientifically interested amateurs wishing to know more about the current research in anti-aging pharmacology.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge Dr Oksana Zabuga for the helpful assistance in preparing the manuscript of this volume, as well as the editorial staff at the Royal Society of Chemistry, especially Harriet Manning and Rowan Frame, with whom I had the good fortune to work on this project, for their patience and encouragement.
Alexander M. Vaiserman