Fundamental Interventions: Revolutions in Geriatric Disease
Submission Deadline: January 31, 2017 (Open) Submit Now
Michael Fossel, MD, PhD
1. President of Telocyte (http://www.telocyte.com)
2. Retired Clinical Professor of Medicine, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, USA
E-Mail: [email protected]; [email protected]
Research Interests: human aging; telomeres; telomerase therapy; age-related diseases; Alzheimer's disease
Photo by courtesy of University of Kansas Medical Center.
About This Topic
Geriatrics is entering a revolutionary era. This journal will introduce both the rationale for, and the upcoming innovations of, that new era. Until now, geriatrics has been a largely descriptive endeavor, focusing on medical and nursing interventions which alleviate but do not cure or prevent age-related disease. This has been due both to our shallow understanding of the aging process and to the limitations of small-molecule therapies. In this issue, we will introduce both a deeper understanding of disease and the burgeoning and innovative therapies that are coming into clinical use. This deeper understanding, coupled with novel, biological interventions, promises to take geriatrics into an unprecedented era, in which we can both prevent and cure age-related diseases.
This deeper understanding encompasses not merely genetics, but regulatory epigenetics; not merely small molecules, but “large molecular” approaches, such as gene therapy; not merely biologically active molecules, but human cells themselves, such as stem and other cell therapies. Perhaps most importantly, we have finally begun to understand the role of changing gene expression, along with the key modulatory role played by telomere shortening, in human age-related disease. None of these concepts or their related interventions are simple or straightforward. They demand a sophisticated understanding of biology, pathology, genetics, and clinical medicine. On the other hand, it is far too easy to use a facile assessment of these topics, making unwarranted claims based on little knowledge and less thought. The literature is replete with invalid and unreliable conclusions, yet the underlying promise remains: we are on the verge of successfully intervening in age-related diseases, with efficacy and compassion.
We encourage articles that reflect this insight, that portray the mechanisms, and that evaluate the actual potential of 21st century medicine as we finally advance upon the most difficult of human diseases, those of geriatric medicine.