The average human lifespan has increased dramatically over the last several decades – yet if we continue as is, the result is more years in the later stages of life, without necessarily living better, or healthier. How can we drive efforts to extend healthy human lifespan, understand the processes of aging, and use the full range of tools at our disposal through diverse approaches?

Even though life expectancy has risen by thirty years since the mid-twentieth century, the expansion of healthspan has not kept pace, hindered by issues of inequality, chronic diseases, and socioeconomic disparities. How can we swiftly prioritize disease-free longevity and achieve a significant leap in longevity? In considering new perspectives that integrate potential societal advancements, along with emerging interventions, technology, policy changes, and investments, how can we shape the discourse, and progress toward a future that fosters equitable global well-being and improved healthspan?

As of November 2022, the global population surpassed 8 billion, marking a swift 12-year transition from 7-8 billion individuals. This rapid growth continues to trigger concerns about resource scarcity, food and water shortages, unemployment, and, put simply, the overall strain on our planet. However, is population growth the most critical demographic challenge of our time, or is it the escalating issue of how we confront and manage population aging? Might aging offer untapped opportunities? 

A topical overview of the current state of geroscience – how has the field looking at the biology of aging developed to Felipe date, and more importantly, where is it headed next?

Global review on the latest developments in and around the biology of aging, including the progression of geroscience as a field, key current areas of enquiry, and research challenges. As well as summarizing the emerging questions around the biological determinants of health and aging, this briefing outlines the promise and potential of geroscience. We also review recent breakthroughs and potential new frontiers of health promotion, including around geroprotectors demonstrate the potential to forestall or even reverse senescence and oxidative stress. 

How can fresh strategic approaches bridge the gap between fundamental research and clinical application? Acknowledging the challenges posed by the protracted, expensive, and often high-risk nature of strategy implementation, GHS delves into how we can bolster the global research infrastructure to actualize tangible benefits in the field of longevity – and highlights the role a resilient and robust research and development pipeline plays. From looking at the hurdles of an often long, expensive, and risky process to implement and deploy interventions, GHS will then investigate how the global research base can be supported to deliver real-life benefits in the longevity space through a strong and resilient R&D chain. Reviewing comprehensively the entire ecosystem, we will examine the imperative of fostering a translational mindset, emphasizing the importance of designing research with practical application in sight. Furthermore, our focus extends to the critical necessity of funding translational research, the critical role partnerships can play in expediting this process and ensuring a more seamless trajectory from research to practical deployment.

How can we revolutionize and accelerate the cornerstones of longevity, including medical insights and nutrition, and integrate them holistically with areas such as wellbeing, to build next-level health maps, and advance preventative medicine? What are the latest approaches to enhancing life and longevity from the clinical point of view?

Drawing on combined deep experience from their respective careers, the Hevolution Arena welcomes Sir Jon Symonds CBE and Dr. Mehmood Khan, to share their notable experiences of healthcare systems from the policy, pharma and consumer health perspective. By examining what present and future health ecosystems can do to leapfrog healthspan, they also uncover some of the reasons behind the pharmaceutical industry’s limited investment in aging. What are the primary obstacles hindering progress, and how can these challenges be addressed to alter the current trajectory?

Investment, creativity, ideas, people. What does it take to execute a great idea that impacts at the global scale? How do we catalyze action through collaboration? 

With its first-in-kind mandate to provide grants and early stage investments to incentivize research and entrepreneurship in the emerging field of healthspan, we consider how this ambition is being realized in practice. GHS sits down with Hevolution Foundation’s Chief Investment Officer, Dr. William Greene, to look at the story so far, and what’s on the horizon.

How do investors view longevity and healthspan? With therapeutics that extend healthy human lifespan promising to redefine healthcare in the twenty-first century, targeting the root causes of aging, and investing in the platforms and technologies that aim to compress drug development timelines or increase accessibility, has the potential to create the next great leaps in the field of healthspan science.

What is the role and current perspective of the pharmaceutical industry as a key stakeholder in the healthspan arena? Despite challenges such as lengthy trials, uncertain returns, complex science and regulatory issues, there is growing recognition of the potential value in longevity research – what is the current state of play? 

The mindset and perception of aging, longevity, and healthspan provoke crucial questions in the realm of scientific inquiry. Controversies surround the determinants of aging—genetic or environmental? Are longevity and healthspan merely products of lifestyle choices, or do genetic factors hold greater sway? Scientific consensus acknowledges the interplay between genetics and lifestyle, underscoring the importance of both in the aging process. Unraveling these complexities holds the key to enhancing our understanding of aging and promoting healthier, more fulfilling lives across the lifespan.

This session offers a groundbreaking review of public attitudes on healthspan and aging, highlighting the importance of fostering a “longevity mindset.” Examining factors like genetics and context, and how they impact individual lives amid rising life expectancies, public awareness of longevity becomes crucial. Shifting gears, the conversation will then delve into trends in the longevity economy, exploring implications for consumer spending, financial markets, and policy. The diverse challenges of aging, from shifting behaviors to emerging consumer demands, are dissected. Anticipating and adapting to these changes, the discussion will then proceed to explore their wider impact on the financial ecosystem, offering a holistic view of healthspan, aging, and their implications.

Everybody wants to live longer, and healthier. A seemingly simple aspiration? Biomedical interventions, along with environmental, social and lifestyle modifications have been major contributing factors to this already. As new aging interventions promise to delay aging and reduce the risk of aging-related diseases, we must confront not only the consequences for health, society and the economy – but also the ethical considerations behind wanting to live better, and for longer. What actions should we take? Who is healthy longevity for, and who gets priority? Is aging not just inevitable? Who should you test on? In the absence of the same collection of opinions between any two people, and with differing moral, ethical, religious and cultural views, we look at how framing the right questions, and engaging in inclusive and transparent discussions, can help us navigate the ethical complexities surrounding healthy longevity interventions. 

How does the intersection of geopolitics, health impact, and cooperation shape our global landscape, especially considering the disparity in lifespans due to factors like socioeconomic inequalities and lifestyle differences? As middle countries gain prominence in innovation and global discussions, what key questions should we be addressing? The evolving roles of influential states and emerging powers in fields such as drug development and technology are reshaping historical domains for the US and Europe. How does this shift in biotech influence and reshape the landscape? Stakeholders in various regions are influencing geopolitical dynamics, particularly in areas like anti-aging and biotech, impacting societal levels. As investments in innovative biotech and manufacturing increase, what implications does this have for healthspan in emerging economies, and who is affected by these changes? Is there a geographical disparity, a "zip code lottery," in defining and experiencing healthspan?

By leveraging the unique conditions of space travel, including microgravity, we can gain a deeper understanding of the physiological, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to the aging process, leading to the development of novel strategies to promote healthy aging on earth. We can also gain insights into other countermeasures for the aging process, including cardiovascular deconditioning, technological cross-pollination and health conditions such as osteoporosis. GHS welcomes Scott Parazynski to the stage, an American physician and a former NASA astronaut veteran of five space shuttle flights and seven spacewalks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently advocated for a paradigm of healthy aging that revolves around an individual's functional ability, integrating their intrinsic capacities and the interplay with the physical and social environment. How can these components be accurately and comprehensively defined? What are the contemporary insights into the dimensions of intrinsic capacity? Furthermore, how might an understanding of these factors enable the anticipation of potential adverse health consequences in the future?

In order to gauge our need to be able to measure the rate of aging, several molecular clocks are being developed. Beyond the well-known epigenetics, these include immune, multi-omics, mitochondira and others. How accurate a measure of physiological aging is molecular aging providing, and what can future research do to explore the new aging markers and create new standards and methods in building biological aging models?

Establishing and fostering the GCC ecosystem involves nurturing a network of organizations, institutions, and stakeholders dedicated to advancing various sectors within the Gulf region. This Forum introduces new thinking on building the ecosystem across the public, private and non-profit sector. It also invites discussion on the key strategies needed to engender a collaborative environment. How can we address the unique challenges and opportunities specific to the GCC countries and their demographics? Perspectives will also be given from the viewpoint of funding, university-industry collaboration and other enablers.

How can we change and develop coordination and funding efforts, particularly in the pre-clinical and clinical phase? With a growing emphasis globally on implementing novel partnership models, diversifying funding models and driving the participation of the private and philanthropic sectors, initiatives are being driven from both the grassroots – and government levels.  What further role could areas such as simplifying application and approval processes, prioritizing long-term funding commitments to support sustained research, and the promotion of interdisciplinary research, play? Plus, what can be done to support early-career researchers and to encourage high-risk, high-reward projects?

Ensuring equitable access to interventions that extend healthspan is paramount, considering the growing disparity between healthspan and lifespan. This demands a substantial call to action. How can we revamp our policy frameworks, foster innovations, and transform systems to promote equitable, healthy aging? How can we provide a larger population with a fair and just opportunity to achieve their optimal health and health equity level?
This session will have audience Q&A.

How do the healthcare challenges of our time intersect with and affect the potential of healthspan? What are the big public health issues we need to tackle?  Putting eldercare and long-term care firmly in focus as one of the most pressing healthcare challenges of the day, the Healthcare Hour covers funding, systemic change and much more, to look at how we can bolster and prepare healthcare systems for the short, mid, and long term challenges ahead.
This session will have audience Q&A.

Technology plays a significant role in advancing longevity research and promoting healthy aging. How can technology contribute and where is it making an impact? Join GHS for an ‘unconference’, open mic hour, bringing together thought leaders and with audience interaction.
This session will have audience Q&A.