Arnold Mitnitski

Arnold Mitnitski
PhD Dalhousie University Research Professor Professor of Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia

How will your research contribute to extending healthy human life?

Any assessments of aging and the possible interventions require the means of measuring health status (in relation to age, sort of personal biological age assessment- although I have reservations about the very use of the term). Our approach of assessing health status based on the accumulation of deficits approach, provides with such a metric. It can be compared with the thermometer for assessing and monitoring temperature, the blood pressure monitor to assess the cardiovascular system, or even a simple scale to monitor the weight. Our approach was tested in many settings both epidemiological and clinical and proven to be a reliable means of health and well-being during aging.

What were the major breakthroughs made by your laboratory or companies?

First, it was an idea to have a proxy measure of aging (and health in relation to) by assessing multiple health characteristics (we call them deficits) in a unified model of the aging process- the model which takes into account available data of the different nature and integrates them in a single number most known as a frailty index (also fitness-frailty index or the cumulative deficit index).

The frailty index is proven to be a reliable characteristic of health and robust predictor of adverse outcomes including mortality — it was tested in various datasets, in different countries, in clinical and epidemiological settings, and by different teams of researchers.

Our approach has a strong theoretical background. Although first introduced as an empirical measure of health and aging, it is now linked to the systems biological mechanisms of aging and a set of complex mathematical models to help to understand the systemic nature of aging. Such models belong to the field of computational biophysics are currently under development.

Can your research be commercialized in the future and is there any way to invest in this research today?

Absolutely. That can be discussed.

In your opinion, what are the most promising companies contributing to longevity research today?

It is hard to tell for me. I am very cautious to give some opinion outside of my direct expertise.

Do you think there will be significant breakthroughs in longevity research in the next decade?

It will be — that is based on the development of the new technologies — multiple biomarkers — although the challenge of integrating them remains. That can be overcame by using our approach mentioned above.

Do you think it is a good time for iVAO to get into longevity business and invest in biotechnology in general?

Yes, but again I am very cautious to give some advice outside of my direct expertise. Aways glad to discuss the details.

Can you say a few words about the upcoming conference in St. Petersburg? What are your expectations?

I am very excited about the meeting. I am still trying to organize a symposium about «biomarkers and biological aging and its assessment»- which might be one of major events of the conference. Unfortunately, so far some of possible key researchers cannot attend but some members of the program committee have agreed to part in the event.

In general, I am very excited with the opportunity to come and present in my native city, to see many friends and colleagues from the leading universities across the globe.

I will be glad to be involved in the meeting if I can be in some help or assistance.