Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI)
Since the middle of the last century a dramatic demographic shift has taken place in the developed industrial nations that has led to nearly a doubling in the average life expectancy. The downside of this basically positive development is the fact that more and more people suffer from the biological consequences of ageing and the development of age-associated diseases. The age-dependent decline in organ homeostasis and regenerative ability are main causes for the dysfunction of various organ systems in old age. At the same time the cancer risk increases exponentially during the ageing process. Adult stem cells, which can be detected in almost all tissues, are of special importance for both processes. Current treatment options for cancer and organ dysfunction in old age are very limited, since the causes are not sufficiently understood.