Using biomarkers to combat age-related diseases

Two scientists from the EUTOPS Institute, Chiara Herzog and Martin Widschwendter, together with researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Harvard University, USA) and more than 20 other experts in aging research (the Biomarkers of Aging Consortium Roadmap Group), have systematically adapted and expanded existing framework structures for biomarker detection worldwide in order to define 'biomarkers of aging' and their clinical applications. The paper is now published in the renowned journal "Cell".

Biomarkers are reliable biological characteristics that can be measured objectively and thus allow conclusions to be drawn about the state of health. These can be, for example, individual molecules, clinical or functional measurements (e.g. 6 minute walking distance or body mass index), or digital health data – for example from fitness trackers. While some molecular or clinical biomarkers of aging have been proposed in recent years, none of them have been clinically accepted so far.

The group of international experts in the Biomarkers of Aging Consortium has, for the first time, reached agreement on how we can study biomarkers of aging. The publication describes criteria that can be used to determine whether a candidate biomarker is useful in a particular context and proposes standardized protocols to prepare a biomarker for clinical use.

“At the same time, this joint work has identified important research directions for the future." Dr Chiara Herzog is one of the first authors of the publication: "Our new concept forms the basis for robust biomarkers for aging research that will benefit the population and have clinical application. With the help of such biomarkers, for example, the individual effectiveness of preventive measures, such as nutrition, smoking cessation, and exercise, could be recorded. The risk of age-related diseases can also be identified.”

In December 2023, the first symposium of the new consortium will take place in San Francisco, in which Herzog is involved. "We are looking forward to working with international experts to enable new findings for ageing research and then to apply them here in Tyrol.

Biomarkers of aging for the identification and evaluation of longevity interventions.

Moqri, Herzog, Poganik et al and the Biomarkers of Aging Consortium, Cell, 2023

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