New Mission launches with clarion call to pivot from investing in sickcare to investing in prevention.
Today sees the launch of the Quantum Healthy Longevity Innovation Mission by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Collider Health. Kicking off with a keynote by Lord Bethell, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences, the Mission seeks to shift ‘sickcare’ to a new model based on proactive prevention, with the ever-growing recognition that wealth of nations is not possible without the health of populations.
Longevity.Technology: As discussed in our interview with Sir John Bell last week, it is no longer possible to afford a healthcare system based only on response to illness. Society needs its citizens not only to engage in their health and behavioural choices across their lifespans, but to be supported in those choices; proactive awareness and support will result in a productive workforce equipped to respond to ongoing challenges and stresses.
In response to this need, leaders are coming together to radically reimagine short, medium and long-term responses at a global, societal and individual level and significantly invest in an interdependent ecosystem for science and innovation to accelerate healthy longevity at quantum scale and pace, with a companion paper – and clarion call – being published in The Lancet .
As we are progressively seeing with research on the psychology, sociology and biology of aging, age-related chronic diseases are not inevitable or untreatable. We need to take a multipronged ‘whole of life’ approach to tackle all the different but interacting drivers of health and disease – lifestyle factors (including diet and physical activity), socioeconomic determinants (such as discrimination, early and lifelong education, training and skills, financial status and social support), and, increasingly, the characteristics of physical environments (such as green spaces and air quality) need more attention. In particular, continual interactions with and cumulative exposures to the surrounding physical and social environments throughout life have vital roles in later-life outcomes.
The Quantum Healthy Longevity blueprint aims to harness such opportunities, address urgent needs and fulfil aspirations of the UK Innovation Strategy to tackle big, real-world problems in climate and health, by harnessing developments in the understanding of the exposome, the system of all external factors that influence our health and wellbeing trajectory .
We are on the cusp of transformational change with technologies that can give a massive step change in delivering healthy longevity for all, and the Mission will take advantage of the UK’s unique strengths such as the world’s largest longitudinal cradle-to-grave dataset from NHS healthcare records. Insights from data outside the NHS dataset, such as genetics, biological, behavioural, social, environmental and financial data are also under-utilised and there are significant opportunities to use AI and multimodal learning to predict disease and incentivise healthier living using ‘life data’.
The Mission aims to unlock the innovation economy and help drive UK’s aspirations to be a science and technology superpower, including helping biotech investment move from 2.0 (investing in ‘sickcare’) to 3.0 (investing in prevention) and leveraging the immense potential of intelligence to create the world’s leading test bed for health, powered by public and private sector investment to increase healthy longer lives for everyone.
“The time has come for action: to harness and develop a shared intelligence combining the intelligence of people, the intelligence of research and business, and the intelligence of data to transform what we all already know and accelerate what we have yet to understand about what impacts us across the course of our lives,” says Nic Palmarini, Director of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing.
“At NICA we framed our mission in ‘adding intelligence to ageing and longevity’ and this is our contribution to the Quantum Healthy Longevity Mission, hoping that the many outstanding UK and international entities will join us to take the steps necessary for a quantum leap forward.”
Professor Lynne Corner, COO of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Director of VOICE, says there is clear citizen demand for this mission.
“People are incredibly enthusiastic about the endless possibilities of science, technology and innovation and how this investment can massively help people and planet,” she says. “But they want action – and more join up, less waste. They want to see solutions based on what they need, that they can afford and that can help them know what to do to live healthier better lives.”
“The Mission takes an exponential approach leveraging data from the ‘exposome’ – reflecting the external stresses and factors that influence our health – to understand how best humans can flourish in their environments,” says Tina Woods, CEO of Collider Health and Healthy Longevity Champion for the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing.
“The abundance of data that can be captured and analysed on how we behave and respond means we can better understand the complex patterns that link our environment, behaviours and health and yield critical insights into the underlying causes of age-related diseases- including dementia, the disease many of us fear most.”