Ageing is a complex multi-system process affecting nearly every facet of our physiology, from basic cellular energy production, to systemic immune responses, loss of bone density and cognitive function. As our scientific understanding of ageing advances, we appreciate that these are not mere parallel processes, but interconnected pathways with alterations to the immune system frequently taking centre-stage.
The recent SARS-Cov-2 outbreak has highlighted the importance of healthy ageing in building resilience against the corona virus and preventing serious COVID-19 symptoms. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but an important theory is that the immune system becomes less effective as we age through immunosenescense, allowing for chronic low-grade inflammation and detrimental acute infections (such as SARS-Cov-2) to take a foothold in the body and drive pathology.
Importantly, vaccines are known to have a considerably lower efficacy in triggering an immune response in older compared to younger individuals. This important caveat suggests that the mere development of a vaccine to SARS-Cov-2 may not be sufficient to protect our older population from infection or keep them healthy after infection has occurred.
In this talk, professors Janet Lord and Lynne Cox will, together with Dr Joan Mannick - chief medical officer of Biopharmaceutical company ResTORBio, discuss how ageing science can be harnessed to combat immunosenescence. Furthermore, they will discuss the recent clinical trials in the US of RTB101, a drug developed by ResTORBio to improve antiviral immunity and prevent serious COVID-19 infections in older adults.
This event is from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and is part of the UK Spine Virtual Conference.