The Importance Of The Buck Institute

 The Buck Institute is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, 23 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge
The Buck Institute is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, 23 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge

Photo Credit: The Buck InstituteWould you like to live to be 100 or 120 years old? Instead of feeling excited about the prospect, you might be worried, the “golden years” are often accompanied by failing health. According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of older adults today have at least one chronic disease, and almost 70% have at least two. But if you could have an extra ten-to-fifteen years of a healthy life—would your worries disappear?

I’m kicking off my column with a shout-out for one of my favorite nonprofits: The Buck Institute for Research on Aging whose mission is to eliminate the threat of age-related disease for today and future generations. The Buck is all about extending the healthy years of life. This world-renowned institute located in our backyard on a gorgeous I.M-Pei designed campus in Novato is a pioneer and global leader in healthspan research. Additionally, it was the birthplace of geroscience, home of the country’s first Ph.D. program in the biology of aging, and it has incubated multiple biotech startups.

Professor and National Academy of Sciences Member Judy Campisi is one of 20 principal investigators at the Buck Institute
Professor and National Academy of Sciences Member Judy Campisi is one of 20 principal investigators at the Buck Institute

Photo Credit: The Buck Institute

The Institute’s unwavering belief that it should be possible to enjoy life at 95 as much as at 25 inspired me to become an enthusiastic supporter. We’ve all seen loved ones struggle with the chronic diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, macular degeneration, diabetes, osteoarthritis, or cancer. These conditions exact both a human toll and a societal one. The Centers for Disease Control estimates an astonishing 86% of the nation’s $2.7 trillion in annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.

Fortunately, thanks in part to The Buck’s groundbreaking work over the past two decades, impeding these age-related conditions is no longer science fiction. The Buck has already succeeded in changing the course of aging in model systems and animal models and now has the vision to translate these findings into therapeutic interventions. And it’s happening. The first drug specifically designed to disrupt the aging process, based on Buck science, is now in clinical trials.

Buck President and CEO Dr. Eric Verdin
Buck President and CEO Dr. Eric Verdin

Photo Credit: The Buck Institute

The Buck, at 19 years young, is a Bay Area hidden jewel and the only independent research institute globally dedicated solely to the biology of aging. Twenty principal investigators and their scientific teams passionately work in a field that’s now become the hottest sector in life sciences. The Institute receives more than 85% of its funding through private donors, foundation grants, business development partnerships, and government research grants. The science of conquering aging is an expensive yet incredibly important undertaking.

I appreciate the Buck because it’s not an anti-aging laboratory. They aren’t looking for the fountain of youth or trying to achieve immortality. They are focused on studying the underlying pathways and processes of aging to help us all live better longer. Through my involvement, I’m learning a lot. And you can too, through their event series or by becoming a member. I’m confident The Buck’s science will add years to our lifespan and decades to our healthspan.

The Buck Institute was the world’s first independent research institute focused solely on aging
The Buck Institute was the world’s first independent research institute focused solely on aging

Photo Credit: The Buck Institute

We may all go gray and develop a few wrinkles—I can live with that. But suffering from significant diseases doesn’t have to be part of aging.  We want our bodies to be reliable and agile at any age; our minds full of sharp wit, clear memories and an ability to share the wisdom we’ve collected through a lifetime of experience. I’m up for that—how about you?

To learn more visit https://www.buckinstitute.org

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