Meet the Cambridge scientist standing as an independent candidate in the European elections
A Cambridge scientist who describes himself as an ‘underdog’ is standing as an independent candidate for the East of England region in the May 23 European elections.
Attila Csordas is to stand on the issues of health and longevity, which, he believes, mainstream politicians are not at all interested in.
Mr Csordas launched AgeCurve in Cambridge in 2015 and is currently its director.
He picked the problem of ageing and the project of healthy lifespan extension as his exclusive professional motivation at the age of 14.
Now he wants to take the subject to Europe and is asking the region’s voters to get behind his goals.
Mr Csordas said: “During the last 200 years life expectancy has doubled in developed countries. The global increase in life expectancy between 2000-15 was five years, out of which 4.6 years count as healthy longevity.
“I think by now most people understand and experience that biological ageing is responsible for the majority of chronic diseases and deaths these days due to age-associated diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.
“Mainstream political actors don’t actually care about individual health and healthy longevity as top political goals, because it won’t get them more votes.
“Time is not working for us and current political times are seemingly working against us.
“I’m a biologist/philosopher by training, bioinformatician, longevity start-up founder by trade.
“As a philosopher I think that living longer and healthier would lead to a more democratic, more egalitarian, more liberal, more diverse, more eco-friendly and more peaceful world. I’m working on the arguments.
“As a biologist I know there’s been a breakthrough reached in the last decades in terms of understanding the major molecular and cellular processes behind biological ageing and now we know the major hallmarks of ageing. I’m trying to contribute to the science.
“Treatments and interventions are currently under development to counteract these separate processes, one by one, or even combined to act on multiple processes at the same time.
“What this means is that we should be on our way to increase our healthy longevity period to harness the longevity dividend.”
He has a number of ideas where the EU can help and one of them includes a pot of cash for research into healthy longevity.
In his manifesto, he offers a four-point starter kit for discussion:
“1. Provide 30 billion euros, yearly, out of the EU budget, to develop effective medicines against age-associated diseases based on the new paradigm addressing the root processes of biological ageing. This would cover setting up new institutions (see next point), new consortium projects, additional academic education, all resources channeled into the part of biomedical and associated technological (eg. machine learning) research. For comparison, the yearly EU budget was 160 billion euros in 2018 and the yearly budget for the US NIH is ~33 billion euros in 2018. And the US has ~200 million less people than the EU combined.
“2. Set up a co-ordinated European Institute for Healthy Longevity Research, present in every member countries and ready to be active part of the relevant international projects.
“3. Transparent, dynamic, enabling regulation. In order to be able to counteract and delay the hallmark processes of biological ageing starting to accumulate throughout life and accelerate in, middle life, a new kind of regulation is needed to enable the paradigm shift in biomedicine. Within the European Union the European Medicines Agency should play a central role in enabling progress on focusing healthy longevity. A separate Committee should be set up to assist in the implementation of new legislation.
“4. Accessible longevity education programmes for everybody, outside academia, reaching all ages to learn about biological ageing and the advances towards healthy longevity.”