Earlier this month, some of the world's leading researchers on aging issued an open letter calling for more funding and research directly into the underlying mechanisms of aging and methods for its postponement. The Scientists' Open Letter on Aging Research declares:
Aging has been slowed and healthy lifespan prolonged in many disparate animal models (C. elegans, Drosophila, Ames dwarf mice, etc.). Thus, assuming there are common fundamental mechanisms, it should also be possible to slow aging in humans.
Greater knowledge about aging should bring better management of the debilitating pathologies associated with aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Therapies targeted at the fundamental mechanisms of aging will be instrumental in counteracting these age-related pathologies.
Therefore, this letter is a call to action for greater funding and research into both the underlying mechanisms of aging and methods for its postponement. Such research may yield dividends far greater than equal efforts to combat the age-related diseases themselves. As the mechanisms of aging are increasingly understood, increasingly effective interventions can be developed that will help prolong the healthy and productive lifespans of a great many people.
Setting aside the question of funding, what makes this letter very important is that it signals the beginning of a shift in the research paradigm from trying to fix the diseases caused by aging to the broader goal of devising therapies to prevent the deterioration of aging in the first place.
Whole list of signatories here.