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Longevity: Leading the next healthcare revolution’

Drawing on her experience at one of the world’s most renowned longevity clinics, Olga Donica describes what lies ahead in the quest to slow ageing.

A baby born today is likely to live until they’re 100. Thanks to enormous progress in medicine and healthcare, what was once considered a remarkably long lifespan will soon become the norm. There’s a catch, though. When we live longer, we are more likely to get an array of age-related diseases and conditions, making the goal of a long, healthy lifespan difficult to achieve.

The challenge in longevity, then, is to enhance both lifespan and healthspan. That is, the years we live at our full potential with robust physical, mental and social health. In short, well enough to enjoy life. But how might this be achieved? To slow ageing, we’ll need to tackle it on many fronts.

There’s no such thing as average

Firstly, it’s clear that to live longer lives, we’ll need holistic, personalised solutions. Today, we still refer to standardised guidelines regarding health, nutrition and disease management. When we follow and apply these, we expect to collect and obtain the same response in all individuals. The major flaw in this approach is that guidelines are always based on an average. Yet what we’ve come to realise is that there is a high level of interindividual variability in how people respond to an intervention. In short, each of us reacts to the same health solution in a different manner.

Certain rules have been drummed into us all when it comes to food. Thanks to continuous glucose monitoring technology, we’ve learnt that individuals’ metabolic responses to the same foods vary widely, and the results can be surprising. White bread makes one person’s blood sugar levels spike, while it has no effect on someone else of the same age and gender. The lesson is clear: if we’re to live longer, individualised solutions will be far more effective than the one-size-fits-all approach that currently dominates our healthcare systems. As well as moving towards personalised medicine, healthcare systems will need to shift from treatment to prevention.

The power of tech to track our health

How will this double shift – from generalised to personalised, and from reactive to proactive – happen? It will rely heavily on innovative technology. Tracking and assessing our health through smart tools will allow early-stage interventions that will help to significantly extend healthspans. In the field of personalised care, many start-up and biotech companies are building tiny, elegant, non-invasive devices that monitor our health markers, measuring everything from stress levels to metabolic processes. These high-precision tools will help us fine-tune our diet, lifestyle or medication, addressing each area in a highly individualised way.

To slow ageing, we’ll need to tackle it on many fronts.

Technology: from luxury to basic commodity

Right now, this personalised, proactive approach is still in its infancy. It isn’t standard in healthcare and not everyone can afford to buy devices to monitor or assess their health in depth. But technology becomes cheaper and more available as time passes. It inevitably proliferates and gravitates towards mass adoption. Relatively recently, many technologies where exclusively used for research or disease management. Today, health-conscious individuals can run a genetic test from the comfort of their homes or monitor their sleep quality by wearing a smart ring.

The life sciences team at Clinique La Prairie constantly assesses cutting-edge technologies that can be integrated into the clinical, genetic or nutritional solutions we offer our guests.

Advances in AI and machine learning systems will help these tools become ever more sophisticated. By aggregating vast amounts of data, we’ll have access to a breathtaking level of detail about many aspects of our health.

Nutrition and supplements

Nutrition science may just be the most dynamic field in preventative medicine right now. It brings revealing new insights on the intrinsic relationship between health and food. Precision nutrition unlocks unknown therapeutic possibilities: where, what, how and when we eat deeply impacts our metabolic processes, body homeostasis and longevity. Therefore, the role of nutraceuticals and targeted nutrition solutions are key to optimal health. More than ever, we are gaining a clear understanding of the potential of food supplements on our health.

In the sector of longevity, senolytics supplements are trending. It’s thought these molecules – resveratrol, quercetin and fisetin – have great potential to slow or ward off ageing by removing senescent cells in our bodies, which contribute to age-related conditions and diseases. Senolytics are present in certain foods, like onions and apples, but only in very low doses, meaning their effect through diet alone is very gentle. If we isolate, stabilise, concentrate and enhance their bioavailability through a supplement, they could possibly help reverse certain hallmarks of ageing.

There is no magic potion

These advances in knowledge and technology will help us make healthier choices and seek medical help early on. It may be tempting to assume that clever tools and effective supplements will do all the work for us. Not so. To achieve longevity, our lifestyle choices will remain key. We cannot be passive bystanders.

The quest to a long and healthy life starts with understanding. What we have learnt so far is that ageing is multifactorial and the consequence of several highly regulated processes. Thus, ageing is complex, and cannot be addressed through a single solution. It is the synergy of many different interventions that will be of most benefit. This means getting to know our strengths and weaknesses, biologically speaking, so that we can address them in an individualised way.

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Olga Donica
Head of Innovation, Research and Longevity at Clinique La Prairie

Olga Donica is Head of Innovation and Research in Longevity at Clinique La Prairie. After gaining a degree in Nutrition Sciences, Olga pursued her passion for research and science related to preventative medicine, precision nutrition and wellness. She joined Clinique La Prairie in 2018, focusing on fostering the innovative approach to longevity, a field that is shaped by continuous overwhelming scientific findings and advanced longevity technology. Olga’s areas of expertise include treating auto-immune disorders, detoxification, metabolic health, revitalisation treatments and nutraceuticals.

Corporate Partners
Biopôle’s corporate partner programme was launched in 2020, with Clinique La Prairie, to connect members of our community with bigger collaborators outside of our campus. The aim of the programme is to foster mutually beneficial relationships that accelerate innovation. Our corporate partners are interested in the innovation capabilities of our community and network, while our community members are looking for partners who can help them fast-track their projects. Between the two, Biopôle acts as an intermediary, identifying opportunities, creating interest, facilitating interactions, and helping to bring potential collaborations to fruition. Since 2020, Clinique La Prairie has partnered with some of the life sciences’ most innovative start-ups.
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