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Approved research

Identification of shared biomarkers for age-related multimorbidity

Principal Investigator: Dr Mario Falchi
Approved Research ID: 55699
Approval date: February 4th 2020

Lay summary

While lifespan is increasing across the globe, healthy, disability-free life expectancy in older age is highly variable. Age-related diseases result in reduced quality of life, increased multimorbidity, and mortality, along with increased costs for the social care system, patients, and their families. Ageing individuals are at higher risk of infections, cancer, and autoimmune, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases. Recent research studies have suggested that different age-related diseases share common causes. Early identification of at-risk individuals and potential identification of multi-disease drug targets is therefore of utmost importance. A limitation of current research is that it often addresses one disease at a time, focussing on latter stages of diseases, and involving a limited number of patients. These limitations can be overcome thanks to the availability of detailed medical, sociodemographic, and genetic information on a very large number of individuals in the UK Biobank. We will take advantage of this unique resource and will apply multiple computational approaches to identify genetic factors common to multiple age-related diseases. We will integrate this information with biochemical measurements (such as those routinely measured by blood tests prescribed by GPs) and other clinical measurements assessing individuals' health (for instance, BMI and blood pressure). The goal of this research is to discover a set of relevant genetic markers and biological pathways allowing non-invasive risk stratification of ageing individuals and to inform pharmaceutical research for the development of novel treatment strategies.