Let's start a discussion with how current health care can be updated, perhaps upgraded, to longevity medicine? Can we now diagnose the true biological age of a person? And can we develop interventions to perhaps slow down the aging process? I would say we can, but we do not do that yet. My background is in Internal Medicine. I'm an internal medicine specialist, and I am also practicing geriatrics. And what I realized in the last 20 years of being in medical practice is that we diagnose diseases when they occur. However, we could prevent age-related diseases already. And I think that's the essence of longevity medicine. We would like to prevent age-related diseases. This is not yet implemented in current health care systems while diagnosing diseases much earlier. Dr. Andrea B. Maier, MD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. But especially we need to target and measure how fast a human being is aging. And most of the time, we do that by measuring the biological age because we know now that the biological age is associated with age-related diseases. And in a nutshell, that is how diagnostics and longevity medicine will function in the future. Well, thank you for this introduction.
What are the hallmarks in the biology of aging? Do we have markers of aging right now in humans? Yes, we have. It is not yet in clinics. Most physicians don't use that in regular clinical practice. But we know why we age. And I would say that's a major advantage. In the last 10 years we understand what is happening at this moment in time with a body affected by time because that's chronological aging. While the time is ticking, our body is exposed to stressors and the external environment. We are eating food. There are many ways how we are aging. So many researchers discovered the hallmarks of aging. We established what's happening in a cell. And some of these hallmarks are telomere attrition. Dr. Andrea B. Maier, MD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Telomeres at the end of the genes are becoming shorter. Our proteins are being folded in cells. And with the aging process, proteins created in our cells are malfunctioning, or they are folded differently. And there are ways you can imagine that if proteins have not folded well, their function is less. We have the accumulation of senescence cells. But we also have, for example, genetic mutations occurring during our lifetime, which very often then also leads to cancer. We know more hallmarks of aging now. That was the discovery of the last the biological age of humans. Dr. Andrea B. Maier, MD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. One of the hallmarks is also epigenetic change. So we have the genome, and there is a layer on top of the genes. That is the epigenetic changes. The epigenetic makeup in genes will be either switched on or switched off, simplistically saying. So while measuring the epigenetic makeup, we can see what the biological age is. We have very nice epigenetic clocks. And there are ways we can determine how old a human being is. Dr. Andrea B. Maier, MD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. So what the difference is with their chronological age? What's given in the passport, and what we are going to apply in clinical care in the future. And what we are applying at the moment in research.