Advancing age is associated with declines in numerous physiological systems, leading to an increased risk of chronic disease and disability. Currently, chronological age limits its capacity to predict morbidity and mortality at an individual level. Alternatively, an individual’s biological age is highly malleable and therefore a superior metric by which to assess an individual’s chronic disease risk because it is reflective of current health status. In order to address this issue, recent attempts have been made to define a “biological age” that is more reflective of the inherent heterogeneity of human aging than chronological age. It has been hypothesized that biological age determined using clinical and physiological parameters predicts morbidity and mortality better than chronological age alone; however, the clinical utility of this approach is limited by the substantial cost, time, specialized equipment and training required to measure each biomarker.
Researchers in the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory at CU Boulder—led by Dr. Douglas Seals—have developed a method reliant on clinical and physiological measures of function in humans. The invention identifies circulating metabolite profiles associated with the rate at which changes in biological age occur.
Based in clinically important measures indicative of future morbidity and mortality risk, this approach predicts a person's biological age through a simple simple blood test. This provides an easy, and potentially cost-effective, method to reliably stratify individuals for their risk of future disease and disability over time, informing physicians of necessary clinical actions in individual patients.
Applications for the technology include precision medicine, predictive treatment, personalized medicine and preventive care, predictors of morbidity and mortality and value-based medicine.
The team is looking to bring this invention to market either through a licensing deal or the formation of a startup company. The longevity space is an emerging market where we see increased investment firms and corporations arising (for example, The Longevity Fund with $37 million USD under management as well as Google Alphabet's spin-off company Calico). Since the invention is also applicable for the growing markets of personalized medicine and preventive care, this opens up additional buckets of opportunity.