The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry on 'Ageing: science, technology and healthy living', which aims to investigate how approaches from science and technology could be used to increase health span, to mitigate some of the negative effects of ageing, and to support older people living with poor health. This inquiry was called in light of the UK Government's 'Ageing Society' Grand Challenge, laid out in the Industrial Strategy, which aims to ensure that people can enjoy five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035. This House of Lords inquiry seeks to assess whether the Government's ambition to increase health span is achievable in principle, and which approaches may be most successful in practice.
With the immune system playing such a crucial role in the ageing process, we felt that it was important for the British Society for Immunology to respond to this inquiry. On top of submitting written evidence, we were delighted that Professor Arne Akbar, our President and a world-leading authority on the role of the immune system in ageing from University College London, was invited to give oral evidence before the committee. The evidence session took place on Tuesday 29 October and Professor Akbar took part in a panel alongside Professor Lynne Cox from University of Oxford and Professor Jesus Gil from Imperial College London. Topics of discussion included the critical role that the immune system plays in ageing, where our understanding is currently on the underlying scientific principles, what potential therapeutics are in the pipeline and what support ageing research needs in the UK to be able to thrive. The evidence session is available to watch on ParliamentLive.tv - you can watch here by setting start time to 11:27:40.
One of the BSI's main aims through our policy work is to provide a strong voice on behalf of the UK immunology community to advocate for how investment in immunological science and health can bring benefits for the whole of society. Our response and involvement in this inquiry marks another step forward in our overall policy work to make sure we represent our members and the discipline overall to the wider world. We now look forward to hearings the findings of the inquiry and will bring you more news on them when available.