Ten additional Centers of Excellence in Research and Education in Geriatrics and Gerontology (Claude Pepper Centers) should be established to maintain the foregoing resources. Also to be developed is resource support to perform high-technology tasks, such as specialized laboratories for cell biology, that are fundamental to a wide range of aging research. Three such laboratories are recommended to serve as regional infrastructure support for basic biomedical studies on aging.
There is evidence that the absence of sufficient laboratory space has been a major impediment to more rapid progress in Alzheimer' s disease research. Congress can address this problem, in part, by appropriating construction funds already authorized by legislation creating Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers.
In addition, we need to produce at least 200 more well-trained research scientists per year with commitments to research on aging. To the aggressive pursuit of young researchers by existing training programs should be added new programs designed specifically to recruit scientists with established reputations in other fields.
In view of the special nature of gerontological research, the committee strongly recommends that mechanisms for long-term research and research training support (5 to 7 years) become more widely available.
New funding for research is required to implement these initiatives. Further sums will be needed for training, infrastructure support, and construction and renovation to house the research resources in the field. In addition, the basic biomedical research program will share in the development of additional multidisciplinary centers for research and education (Claude Pepper Centers) and in the support of infrastructure resources (e.g., computer capability; data banks, including population studies; and library support).
With additional support for research grants, infrastructure, and centers, a significant increase should follow both in the number of investigators who turn their attention to the phenomena of aging and in a stepped-up intensity in the nature of the research currently under way. Increased support for research careers in the study of aging should also lead to greater enrollment of young professionals in those training programs now undersubscribed. Both cancer biologists and gerontologists are now well aware of the close interrelationships in the regulation of senescence and neoplasia.
The expanded effort proposed in this report can be expected to lead to an increased understanding of the nature of cell regulation and how changes in this process lead to those diseases of aging characterized by aberrant proliferation, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, and prostatic hypertrophy. In addition, understanding the genetic