New York, NY (PRWEB) July 24, 2012
A generous $5 million gift from The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research will provide significant funding for two major American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) grants programs supporting research on the biology of the aging process.
"The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research has renewed its commitment to research in aging through a second five-year grant of $1 million per year to support research into biological aging and potential interventions in age-related debility and disease," said Mark R. Collins, President, Glenn Foundation for Medical Research.
The Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Awards program provides timely support to a small number of pilot basic research programs that are of relatively high risk but offer a significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging. The Glenn Foundation has been the program’s sole funder since it was started in 2005. The new Glenn gift also funds the AFAR Research Grants program, which provides up to $100,000 for a one- or two-year award to junior faculty to conduct research that will serve as a basis for longer term research efforts. This early-career funding can be critical in launching the careers of innovators in aging research.
“For more than three decades, Paul Glenn and the Glenn Foundation have been true partners and friends of AFAR,” said Stephanie Lederman, EdM, Executive Director, AFAR. “Many of the recent strides in aging research would not have been possible without Mr. Glenn’s unwavering support and keen vision. The Glenn Foundation has also recognized the importance of supporting a new generation of researchers, helping them get their start as future leaders in the science of healthier aging.”
Research in biogerontology – the field of basic science that studies the mechanisms of aging – has led to the discovery that many of the diseases of aging can be delayed by over a dozen genetic, dietary, and pharmaceutical interventions. In animal models, many of these measures have been shown to increase healthy lifespan by 30 to 40 percent. Although medical research has accomplished much, its effectiveness will become limited unless there is an increased emphasis on understanding how aging affects health and vitality. Studying the underlying mechanisms of aging is the most direct way of enabling researchers to tackle common diseases of old age.
“We believe that the best way to learn how to prevent the major diseases and disabilities of aging may be to study aging itself,” said Ms. Lederman.
There is now ample evidence that some of the hormones and cellular pathways that influence the rate of aging in lower organisms also contribute to conditions such as cancer, cataracts, heart disease, arthritis, and cognitive decline. Many experiments have demonstrated that by manipulating certain genes, altering reproduction, reducing caloric intake, and changing the signaling pathways of specific physiological mechanisms, the duration of healthy life of both invertebrates and mammals can be extended.
About the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research
The purpose of the Glenn Foundation, founded in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn, is to extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the mechanisms of biological aging. The Glenn Foundation does not solicit charitable contributions.
Founded in 1981, AFAR has championed the cause and supported the funding of science in healthier aging and age-related medicine. To address the shortage of physicians and researchers dedicated to the science of healthier aging, AFAR funds physicians and scientists probing the fundamental mechanisms of aging, as well as specific diseases associated with aging populations at critical points throughout their careers.