April 19, 2021

Lonnie Listonsmith

Experienced Health Expert

Artificial intelligence in longevity medicine

3 min read

In order for longevity medicine to be formally seen as a branch of medicine, it needs to be practiced by physicians. Clinical practice requires clinical protocols and diagnostic and treatment guidelines with defined outcome measures, biomarkers and medications approved by national regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration. However, to develop at least preliminary clinical recommendations for interventions in longevity medicine, aging needs to be monitored and treated as a medical condition, with designated studies performed to demonstrate both efficacy and safety of specific interventions. At present, there is a growing number of AI-based tools that give access to relevant health parameters, such as a patient’s biological age, that utilize a variety of ‘omics’ data and present different dimensions of a patient’s state of health and rate of aging to inform prognosis. In order for these tools to be adopted by clinicians and accepted by the medical community, they need to be integrated into the current framework of clinical practice, ranging from primary through to secondary prevention, treatment and monitoring. Such integration requires the convergence of modern AI and medicine through a symbiotic collaboration between clinicians, geroscientists and AI researchers. Physicians should be encouraged and have the chance to be involved in AI-based longevity research. At the same time, AI-powered longevity biotechnology and AI-based biomarker-driven science should be promoted and seek close clinical and metaclinical collaborations. Doctors first need to have the access to tailored, validated and credible education on AI-based biogerontology sciences, such as accredited courses, that would further allow longevity physicians to build their networks and ultimately create a separate medical discipline. A basic knowledge of AI-driven geroscience is essential to bring relevant scientific discoveries to trials, and study outcomes to the clinic.

Beyond academia and regulatory authorities, industrial involvement will also be important. Like in the early days of the Internet when we witnessed the appearance of mobile technologies, instant messaging and social networks, we expect to see more venture-backed groups of expert enthusiasts starting businesses in this emerging area. These businesses will provide AI-based tools, such as DAC, to track aging, which will help build evidence-based knowledge from the data provided by and to clinicians, as well as from high-end clinics working with self-funded clientele interested in extending the period of healthy productive life.

As the field of longevity medicine develops, we must also take into consideration its potential impact on health equity. For all branches of medicine, there is a great ethical concern stemming from major inequities in health outcomes due to various factors, including socioeconomic status, geopolitical position and ethnicity. One could assume that access to longevity medicine solutions will only be available to wealthy individuals and thus deepen the health disparities. However, longevity medicine is partly equipped with a low cost and minimally-invasive arsenal, including wearable trackers and DAC, that should help address problems on a public health scale. Genetic testing already proved that a democratization of specialized precision medicine testing is possible. Similar developments are to be anticipated for other ‘omics’ and even imaging techniques. Nevertheless, it will be important to keep in mind the issue of health inequalities as the field of longevity medicine continues to grow.

Longevity research in academia and in the biotechnology industry should also benefit from large pharmaceutical companies willing to employ tools for clinical trial enrollment and monitoring, and from life insurance companies interested in providing additional services to customers desiring large payouts at the end of their lives. Ultimately, such collaborations will also encourage the creation of industry groups or branches within regulatory agencies that will define and establish common clinical practice and industry standards as well as regulations required to guide the future of AI-based longevity medicine.

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