Development of new therapies and medical innovation to prevent, diagnose and treat aging-associated dysfunctions and illnesses


Image: Jena University Hospital


The increasing percentage of older people within the population leads to qualitative and quantitative changes in health requirements. The increase in the average age causes an increased prevalence of diseases and functional limitations, e.g. neurodegeneration, kidney failure or the development of tumors.  Despite intense research, for most of these diseases no medications are available that cure these conditions. Therapies or at least the amelioration of associated symptoms, particularly in regard to senior care, are a future problem of significant macroeconomic relevance.


Simultaneously, the symptomatology of  diseases changes compared to the same disease in middle age: the disease course is prolonged and recovery is delayed. Chronic illnesses are more frequent and progressively worsen.  An additional factor is the so-called multi-morbidity, the fact that older patients often suffer from confounding illnesses on top of the underlying disease. This fact impedes the correct diagnosis and treatment of the underlying disease.




Image: Anna Schroll / Jena University Hospital


Taken together, there is an urgent need to improve health care of older patients. The goals are for one a catalogue of therapeutic measures, which ameliorate the negative consequences of the aging process; and for another, the development of safe and efficacious drugs, which can be used for the prevention and causative treatment of age-associated diseases and functional impairments and are specifically tailored to the physical constitution of older people.


As part of the focus “Development of new therapies and medical innovation to prevent, diagnose and treat aging-associated dysfunctions and illnesses” a close collaboration with the future CGCJ (Comprehensive Gerontology Center Jena) will be developed. In addition, structures will be developed to accelerate the translation of basic research findings into treatment concepts and to test them in clinical studies to determine efficacy.