Getting older is a process that is different from person to person, it incurs physical wear and tear. Over the past  few years scientific research has shown that not all decline is inevitable. We can increasingly manipulate the signs of ageing and that is why a large team of doctors, biologists, diet experts and epidemiologists now embark on further research on the factors that critically contribute to ageing more healthily.

DuSRA-VOILA is a collaboration of nine research institutes (amongst which five Academic Medical Centers) and eight private partners. It is the largest collaboration in the Netherlands in the area of human ageing. When observing human ageing it is apparent that people’s ageing trajectories are widely different, these biological differences become amplified when people grow older. The calendar age becomes less relevant than the ‘biological’ age.  Some seniors appear very frail however for the majority it is difficult to forecast from the outside what their physical health is and what problems may lie underneath, for this we need biomarkers.

Within the collaborative DuSRA-VOILA programme academic researchers and their colleagues from private partners are engaging in three pillars of research to

  • identify markers of the critical stages of the ageing process,
  • attenuate the deterioration of the body,
  • repair damage.

We expect that the insights obtained shall allow seniors to enjoy more years in good health.

We are going to identify biomarkers of biological age; this is based on discovery of signatures of molecules in the body which indicate the biological status of the individual, for instance, molecular substances which clarify the condition of the body’s metabolism, its muscles, the gut and blood.  Presently, seniors with medical conditions appear to get largely the same treatments and drugs, notwithstanding their large variation of physical condition and the fact that their bodies react very differently. We want to use blood and cell samples to allow us to measure at a relatively early age (50+) who are at risk of rapid ageing and how we can, by developing personalized lifestyle advice, stimulate changes to the body to achieve a more healthy metabolism, as well as a healthy condition of muscles and the gut. In case people have already acquired tissue damage due to ageing we shall develop treatments to eliminate senescent (aged) cells from tissues.