Creating the Next Generation of Translational Geroscientists

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Sep;67(9):1934-1939. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16055. Epub 2019 Jul 9.

Abstract

Advances in understanding fundamental processes of aging have led to a variety of investigational therapies to delay or prevent age-related diseases and conditions. These geroscience therapeutics hold the promise of revolutionizing medical care of older adults by treating the complex syndromes of aging and preserving health and independence. A crucial bottleneck is the study of geroscience therapeutics in early-stage, first-in-human, or proof-of-concept clinical trials. There is a limited pool of clinical investigators with the combination of knowledge and skills at the interface of clinical research, care of older adults, and aging biology needed to successfully design, fund, and implement geroscience trials. Current training pipelines are insufficient to meet the need. The sixth retreat of the National Institute on Aging R24 Geroscience Network brought together basic scientists, gerontologists, clinicians, and clinical researchers from the United States and Europe to discuss how to identify, recruit, and train investigators who can perform early-stage clinical trials in geroscience. We present herein the group's consensus on necessary subject domains and competencies, identification of candidate learners, credentialing learners, and the efficient and rapid implementation of training programs. Foundations and funding agencies have crucial roles to play in catalyzing the development of these programs. Geriatrician investigators are indispensable but cannot meet the need alone. Translational geroscience training programs can create a cadre of groundbreaking investigators from a variety of backgrounds and foster institutional cultures supportive of multidisciplinary translational aging research to turn innovative ideas into transformative therapeutics that can improve the health and independence of older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:1934-1939, 2019.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Geriatrics / trends*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Research / trends*
  • Male
  • National Institute on Aging (U.S.)
  • Translational Medical Research / trends*
  • United States