Rejuvenating the elderly a scientific approach for tackling geriatric intensive care

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Lukasz Wlodarek
Fievel Lim

Keywords

Abstract

Continuous advances in science and technology have been slowly increasing the mean life expectancy on a global scale. It is expected that the number of individuals over the age of 80 will triple within the next three decades. In response to this, there is an increasing demand for additional space in geriatric intensive care units (ICUs) hospitalizing patients with debilitating or life-threatening conditions that become exacerbated with age. Current avenues of treatment against illnesses and injuries seen in elderly ICU patients have been predominantly based around prevention and improving quality of life. Few treatments that address the disease directly, if any, are rarely applied to geriatric patients due to reported high mortality rates from procedures that are challenging to handle in an aged state. In this review, we highlight recent advances using induced pluripotent stem cells generated from patient-specific reprogrammed somatic cells as a possible route of non-invasive therapy for the treatment of conditions that normally warrant admission to geriatric ICUs. We also touch base with hurdles that have to be overcome before benchtop science can be translated for human use. Finally, we speculate as to the possible future direction that personalized regenerative medicine using reprogrammed cells may take based on scientific research that is currently being carried out.