The Geroprotectors online database was recently announced, a curated reference of lifespan data studies carried out in recent years. It isn't surprising to see João de Magalhães on the list of those involved, given his past focus on producing online databases relevant to aging research: GenAge, AnAge, LongevityMap, the Digital Aging Atlas, LibAge, and so on. The Geroprotectors database is in line with those efforts, being an attempt to make interesting data more accessible to that faction of the research community interested in intervening in the aging process.
I should say that this reference work follows the mainstream of aging research in being entirely focused on pharmacology, the expensive process of finding drugs and supplements to slightly slow down the aging process by adjusting the operation of metabolism. That's fair enough when looking at the last few decades of life span studies; approaches other than calorie restriction, exercise, and drug discovery to alter the operation of metabolism haven't yet progressed to the point of producing more than a sparse handful of animal studies. In particular the SENS approach of periodic damage repair is still largely at earlier stages of research prior to expensive, long-running animal studies, with a few exceptions such as senescent cell clearance and mitochondrial repair technologies that are entering clinical trials, but not for aging.
The point to be made here is that the future of treating aging is not pharmacology in the traditional sense of mining the natural world for compounds that happen to do more good than harm in any one specific situation. There will certainly be a lot of work done there through sheer inertia, but in the fullness of time it will be abandoned as a path towards therapies because it will be proven ineffective in comparison to SENS and related approaches, which look much more like gene therapies, cell therapies, repair of specific molecular breakages, and so on. It is self-evident that in any complex system of machinery we should expect periodic repair of damage to be more effective than slowing down damage accumulation without repair, and that is without taking into account that adjusting metabolism into new safe configurations is harder and more expensive than repairing known forms of damage to maintain the known healthy configuration of metabolism.
That doesn't stop Geroprotectors from being a very interesting set of data, of course. It is important to recognize that scientific knowledge always has value, and there is certainly far too little investment in it in our modern societies, but it isn't necessarily the case that any particular field or approach is capable of laying the foundations for effective therapies. It we were all already ageless that wouldn't matter, but we are not; the clock is ticking, and so there is merit in talking about which strategies are likely to be more or less effective in the treatment of aging.
The risk for many chronic diseases increases as we age. These diseases include cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome-related problems such as type II diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke, as well as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Studies show that some agents which extend the lifespan in animal models may also be effective in humans. Geroscience, which aims to conserve the healthy state of the body, may therefore become a key concept in biomedicine in the near future, as chemicals become available which slow ageing and prevent or delay the onset of age-related diseases.
A "geroprotector" is any intervention that aims to increase longevity, or that reduces, delays or impedes the onset of age-related pathologies by hampering aging-related processes, repairing damage or modulating stress resistance. The Geroprotectors.org database comprises more than 250 life-extension experiments in 11 wild-type model organisms (including M. musculus and C. elegans, among others). We gathered data about more than 200 chemicals promoting longevity, including compounds approved for human use. This database integrates information about lifespan-increasing experiments and related compounds, suppression of aging mechanisms, activation of longevity mechanisms and age-related diseases obtained from research papers and databases. For descriptions of compounds and their effects on model organisms, we have used many sources with information about chemical and biological information. All substances have descriptions including data on their toxicity, clinical use, clinical trials (actual data), biological and pharmacological activities, interactions and so on.
As the level of interest in aging research increases, there is a growing number of geroprotectors, or therapeutic interventions that aim to extend the healthy lifespan and repair or reduce aging-related damage in model organisms and, eventually, in humans. There is a clear need for a manually-curated database of geroprotectors to compile and index their effects on aging and age-related diseases and link these effects to relevant studies and multiple biochemical and drug databases.
Here, we introduce the first such resource, Geroprotectors. Geroprotectors is a public, rapidly explorable database that catalogs over 250 experiments involving over 200 known or candidate geroprotectors that extend lifespan in model organisms. Each compound has a comprehensive profile complete with biochemistry, mechanisms, and lifespan effects in various model organisms, along with information ranging from chemical structure, side effects, and toxicity to FDA drug status. These are presented in a visually intuitive, efficient framework fit for casual browsing or in-depth research alike. Data are linked to the source studies or databases, providing quick and convenient access to original data. The Geroprotectors database facilitates cross-study, cross-organism, and cross-discipline analysis and saves countless hours of inefficient literature and web searching.