Unprecedented economic growth or near-term collapse?
How advances in biomedicine can transform the global economy.
About this talk:
This talk describes the potential fundamental impact of biomedicine, not only on health and longevity, but also on global economic growth.
The revolution in information technology has irreversibly changed our lives over the past two decades. However, advances in biomedicine stand poised to eclipse the social and economic effects of IT in the near future.
Biomedical innovations typically reach the mass market in much slower fashion than those from information technology. They follow a paradigm where neither demand, in the form of the consumer, nor supply, in the form of the innovator, can significantly accelerate the process. Nevertheless, many of the advances made over the past three decades are already propagating into mainstream clinical practice and converging with other technologies extending our life spans.
However, in the near-term, unless the governments of the debt-laden developed countries make proactive policy changes, there is a possibility of lengthy economic decline and even collapse.
Biomedical advances are not all the same. The current paradigm in biomedical research, clinical regulation and healthcare has created a spur of costly procedures that provide marginal increases late in life extending the "last mile", with the vast percentage of the lifetime healthcare costs being spent in the last few years of patient's life, increasing the burden on the economy and society.
Drawing on ideas from his new book The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy, the speaker will argue that there is an urgent need to proactively adjust healthcare, social security, research and regulatory policies:
- to ameliorate the negative near-term effects
- and to accelerate the mass adoption of technologies contributing positively to the economy.
About the speaker:
Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, is the director and a trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a UK-based think tank supporting aging research worldwide.
Alex is also the founder of the International Aging Research Portfolio, a curated knowledge management system for aging research. He heads the laboratory of regenerative medicine at the Clinical Research Center for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology where his research interests include Hutchinson-Gilford Syndrome, new methods of cellular reprogramming, molecular mechanisms of skin and cartilage regeneration and personalized medicine in oncology. Together with scientists from Canada, Russia and the US, he co-founded the First Oncology Research and Advisory Center, a personalized medicine organization providing contract research services to oncologists interested in gene expression and activated signalling pathway analysis and predicted effectiveness of targeted drugs to improve clinical decision making. He is also the head of research at NeuroG Neuroinformatics, a neuroinformatics company developing algorithms for cost-effective EEG devices to recognize imagined visual images and delay the onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. He holds two bachelor degrees from Queen’s University, a masters in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins Universtity and a PhD in physics and mathematics from the Moscow State University.
His book, The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy, will become available for Kindle download from 2nd July.
Some endorsements for "The Ageless Generation":
"Alex Zhavoronkov claims that we do not have to age the way all other generations did. Or... possibly... at all? Controversial and assertive, he lays out the case for expanding research into what makes all human beings sink into twilight before a century of life. Shall we adjust social policies for an era of spry oldsters, or even semi-immortals? These matters will roil our arguments for the next five decades. The Ageless Generation presents one side with knowledge and verve."
--David Brin, bestselling author of Kiln People, Foundation’s Triumph, and many others
"The devastating impact of population aging in the decades to come is becoming like the proverbial weather: everyone is talking about it but no one is doing anything about it. Zhavoronkov starkly sets out the nature and trajectory of this crisis - and then he elaborates what few others have yet described, and no one so expertly: the unique solution to it, namely the development of comprehensive rejuvenation medicine that will restore and maintain the health of the elderly so that they can continue to contribute wealth to society. This book has the potential to define medium-term economic and social policy for the entire industrialized world."
--Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, SENS Research Foundation
“The Ageless Generation addresses the greatest socio-political/scientific challenge of our time. It is provocative, fast paced, and hard to put down. This book should stimulate a lot of thought and hopefully some constructive responses both scientific and in the health care system.”
--Charles Cantor, Chief Scientific Officer, Sequenom, Inc., and Professor Emeritus, Boston University
“Aging is getting interesting! Zhavoronkov provides a concise but thorough view of aging from changing global demographics to the latest research. Importantly, he outlines a point-by-point plan centered around aging research that if realized could solve the aging population problem, create major economic benefits and enhance dramatically the quality of life for elders. Everyone should take heed. The choices we make now will impact us all in the near future.”
--Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., President and CEO, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
"The research of Alex Zhavoronkov paints a picture of frightening reality: that our children might just live to 130. The financial and economic consequences of this cry out for more urgent attention from all sides of society. A huge physchological readjustment in our attitude towards retirement, as we know it, is required for us to start to cope with this new future."--Hugh Gallagher, Chairman, International Employee Benefits Association
2pm-4pm, Saturday 31st August
Venue: Room 532, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.
Room 532 is on the 5th floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.
Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.
The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ
Optional pre-meeting rendezvous - please feel free to join a small number of regular London Futurist attendees at the Marlborough Arms any time from 12.30pm onwards, for general chat over a light lunch and/or drinks. To find us, look out for a table with a futurist book on it.
Covering meeting costs:
A small fee (£5) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Please pay in advance, online.
This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.
Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)
Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge - please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.