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Extending quality life years: insights from the Global Healthspan Summit 2023

Event focused on extending quality life years through scientific innovation


The inaugural Global Healthspan Summit, convened in Riyadh by the Hevolution Foundation on 29–30 November 2023, marked a pivotal moment in the quest to extend the quality years of life. This groundbreaking event united a diverse group of experts across science, economics, and societal sectors, fostering discussions that could redefine our approach to ageing.

At the heart of these deliberations is the geroscience hypothesis, which sees ageing not just as a chronological milestone but as a modifiable factor deeply intertwined with chronic diseases.

Focus of Global Healthspan Summit 2023

One of the summit's key focus areas was the critical role of biomarkers in ageing research. The absence of validated, translatable biomarkers has stymied efforts to understand and intervene in the ageing process.

However, recent advancements, including a study led by Vadim Gladyshev at Harvard Medical School, are promising. By employing epigenome-wide Mendelian randomization, Gladyshev's team identified CpG sites causally linked to ageing traits, offering new avenues for understanding and potentially reversing the ageing process.

Fostering Innovation Through Competition

The summit was also a launchpad for initiatives designed to spur innovation in the healthspan field. The announcement of the Biomarkers of Ageing Challenge and the ambitious XPRIZE Healthspan competition underscored a collective commitment to identifying interventions that can reverse age-related functional losses.

These initiatives not only aim to catalyze research but also to build a foundational healthspan industry, illustrating the unique intersection of competition and collaboration in advancing healthspan research.

The Economic and Social Dividends of Extended Healthspan

Discussions extended beyond the laboratory, exploring the societal and economic implications of an ageing population. Economists and scientists highlighted the potential for ageing societies to enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Andrew Scott from the London Business School presented compelling evidence that improving healthspan has more substantial economic and personal value than merely extending lifespan.

By focusing on reducing the period of morbidity, societies could unlock immense economic value, emphasizing the need for a strategic shift towards preventive healthcare.

Ensuring Equitable Access to Healthspan Innovations

The ethical dimensions of healthspan extension were critically examined, with a consensus on the moral imperative for universal access to healthspan interventions.

The discussions underscored the dangers of healthspan inequity and the importance of ethical guidelines that ensure fair access. Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic's lessons, the summit called for strategies to avoid socioeconomic disparities in accessing future healthspan innovations.

The Role of Digital Innovation in Democratizing Health

Digital technologies stand to revolutionize how we approach clinical trials and healthcare. The summit showcased how artificial intelligence and decentralized clinical trials could enable the rapid identification of impactful interventions.

Innovations like the vision performance index (VPI) highlight the potential of digital platforms to integrate seamlessly into daily life, offering novel ways to monitor and enhance healthspan.

Towards a Transformative Healthcare Paradigm

A recurring theme was the need to pivot from a reactive to a proactive healthcare model. This shift requires not only technological innovation but also a fundamental transformation in regulatory, economic, and societal frameworks.

The summit emphasized the importance of aligning investments with preventive healthcare to address the root causes of ageing-related diseases.

The Global Healthspan Summit 2023 was more than just a meeting of minds; it was a rallying cry for a future where extended healthspan is a reality for all. The discussions and initiatives launched at the summit pave the way for interdisciplinary collaboration, visionary investments, and systemic changes essential for realizing this ambitious goal.

As we move forward, the summit's insights and commitments serve as a beacon for the burgeoning healthspan revolution, inviting everyone to become part of this transformative journey.

Read more about the Global Healthspan Summit 2023 on the Hevolution website.

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Andrew Scott

Professor of Economics at London Business School, Co-founder of The Longevity Forum

Global Healthspan Summit 2023

29-Nov-2023 to 30-Nov-2023

Longevity summit organised by Hevolution Foundation (Riyadh,Saudi Arabia)

Hevolution Foundation

Non-profit organization that funds research, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Vadim Gladyshev

Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Topics mentioned on this page:
Ageing Research, Policy
Extending quality life years: insights from the Global Healthspan Summit 2023