Keith Comito, speaker at the Rejuveron Age better, live longer Symposium
What sparked your interest to get into aging research?
I would like to think that no matter life’s circumstances I would have come to recognize the importance of this field, but I can’t deny that certain experiences in my youth are related. Namely experiencing the passing of multiple loved ones as a child, and later caring for my grandmother until her death from Alzheimer’s disease. The former gave me an early preoccupation with life’s fragility, and the latter solidified my resolve to overcome it.
What advice would you give a young adult who wants to maximize the impact on aging research?
Don’t feel the need to conform to one idea of how you can help the field. The thing about aging is that it intersects with absolutely every other aspect of human experience. Figure out how whatever it is that you already love to do can support this work and do that better than anyone else can.
Where do you think the field will be in 5 and 10 years from now respectively?
I am optimistic that within five years there will be at least one bona fide therapy in the market that has a non-negligible effect on the aging process, and which can be verified in a way that the public readily understands (via advances in biomarkers). Assuming this, the future 10 years from now will see a much accelerated aging research ecosystem – aided by the public’s belief in the feasibility of the overall endeavor, coupled with pressing socioeconomic concerns brought on by an aging population.
What do you think are the most promising developments in the space that will eventually generate value on the market?
The leveraging of machine learning, blockchain technology, and big data to create accurate biomarkers of aging – including physiological biomarkers. Having the ability for the public to easily verify the effect of potential interventions will accelerate mainstream adoption, increase demand for further improvements, and create clear value propositions for organizations seeking investment or philanthropic support for aging research.
What are the biggest obstacles you see in the field and how would you solve them if you had a magic wand?
Lack of standardized and interoperable health data infrastructure is holding back the pace of research, and if I could snap my fingers, I would replace it all with modern systems capable of massive-scale decentralized clinical trials, enhanced reproducibility, and serendipity. I have high hopes for the emerging DeSci community to address this; let’s get it done!