8.5 million euros for research into healthy ageing and vitality

24 April 2019• PRESSRELEASE

An extensive and multidisciplinary team of experts on ageing will receive more than 8.5 million euros for a large-scale study into factors and solutions that contribute to healthy ageing and increased vitality. The team wishes to ensure that functional decline among the elderly is recognised earlier, slowed down and then recovered, resulting in longer life in good health. The study, that will start in September of this year, will involve nine research institutions and eight private parties.

Professor Eline Slagboom, chair of the Dutch Society for Research on Ageing (DuSRA) and a researcher at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) will be heading the study. “Life expectancy for the Dutch population is constantly rising. However, an ageing population unfortunately also means a rise in the number of people suffering from one or more age-related diseases. For that reason, we are creating a platform for permanent cooperation into healthy ageing. This is the largest public-private partnership ever in the field of healthy ageing.”

Delaying ageing

Three projects will be combined under the name DuSRA-VOILA: VOILA (Vitality Oriented Innovations for the Life course of the Ageing Society), SMARTage (Senescence Models, Aging Research and Therapeutics, headed by Cleara Biotech) and Neuromet (Neuroinflammation and metabolomics). A unique aspect of this partnership is that the researchers aim to tackle not one single disease but a variety of age-related diseases simultaneously. The team will be using new biomarkers (marker substances) to identify which elderly people run the greatest risk of accelerated ageing and increased vulnerability from medical treatments. They will also be investigating how the combined health of the metabolism, the immune system, the intestinal flora and the muscle system can be influenced by lifestyle changes.

Another research theme will be ageing at cell level, whereby the scientists will be examining senescent cells in particular, as well as how they can be recognised and treated. By intervening timely in the partially already known mechanisms, the researchers hope to be able to slow down or perhaps even prevent diseases such as heart failure, dementia and cancer.

Largest Healthy Ageing partnership

VOILA is a partnership between medical centres in Leiden (LUMC), Utrecht (UMC Utrecht), Groningen (ERIBA-UMCG), Rotterdam (Erasmus MC) and Maastricht (MUMC), Wageningen University & Research, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut Volksgezondheid en Milieu - RIVM), Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR), the University of Technology in Delft and the private parties Cleara Biotech, Sciex, Interscience/Sample Q, FrieslandCampina, &niped, Diabetes Fonds, Zorg & Zekerheid and the Leyden Academy. The partnership will be co-financed with 6 million euros from ZonMw and Health~Holland, Topsector Life Sciences & Health. The remainder will be financed by private parties.

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