For several decades, understanding ageing and the processes that limit lifespan have challenged biologists. Thirty years ago, the biology of ageing gained unprecedented scientific credibility through the identification of gene variants that extend the lifespan of multicellular model organisms. Here we summarize the milestones that mark this scientific triumph, discuss different ageing pathways and processes, and suggest that ageing research is entering a new era that has unique medical, commercial and societal implications. We argue that this era marks an inflection point, not only in ageing research but also for all biological research that affects the human healthspan.
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J.C. is a scientific founder of Unity Biotechnology, a company that develops senolytics. G.J.L. and S.M. are scientific founders of Gerostate Alpha, a drug-development company focused on creating novel pharmaceuticals that mitigate age-related disease and dysfunction. J.C.N. and E.V. are scientific founders of BHB Therapeutics, a company focused on the therapeutic effects of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate. E.V. is a scientific founder of Napa Therapeutics, a company that studies NAD metabolism during ageing.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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We thank I. Park and D. Powell for editing/proofreading this Review and J. Carroll for assistance with figures.
Nature thanks Valter D. Longo, David Sinclair and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.