What future frailty?

With our increasingly aging population, the pharma industry faces a shift in the demographics of its users and patients. There is an increasing need to better understand and deliver treatments for our elderly. What are the major trends clinicians are seeing with their older patients and what can be done about this? What factors should be considered for the future of therapeutics and household goods? What is the long-term future for smart devices in healthcare? This was the setting for AIMday Ageing meeting held at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford earlier this year.

The meeting brought together healthcare researchers and practitioners to discuss key issues. Dr Laila Guzadhur from Niche Science & Technology attended the meeting to join the discussions. The format of the meeting involved a series of workshops that focused on questions submitted to the organisers prior to the meeting.

The questions “Do you envisage any effective agent ever being discovered that will be able to halt or even reverse ageing and if so when?” and “Do you see truly predictive markers of frailty offering effective prediction in terms of years of even decades emerging anytime soon?” were submitted on behalf of the Frailomic study team. Additional questions surrounding frequently encountered problems that clinicians and their older patients face on a daily basis were also discussed.

The potential for developing accurate tools to measure frailty were discussed with several suggestions proposed by the attendees. The group discussed high attrition rates in novel pharmaceutical treatment paradigms versus the promise emerging from the device industry. The overall conclusion was that the findings soon to emerge from the Frailomic initiative will serve to better predict and diagnose frailty, and that these developments will empower our attempts to address its impact on an aging population.