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Dec. 8, 2023

RIKEN Researchers Win Major Research Contract From Wellcome Leap Dynamic Resilience program

RIKEN, in collaboration with scientists at Keio University and Kyushu University, has been awarded major research funding from the global Dynamic Resilience program, jointly funded by Wellcome Leap , a non-profit founded by the Wellcome Trust to accelerate breakthroughs for global human health, and Temasek Trust, a Singapore-based non-profit that promotes social resilience, progress, and cohesion through evidence-based programs that aim to deliver sustainable long term solutions. The group of researchers, led by Hiroki Sasaguri of the RIKEN Center for Brain Science, will address the immune system mechanisms behind “dynamic resilience” (the maintenance of health in aging) in centenarians, utilizing human biosamples obtained from centenarians and supercentenarians. Joining the group are Kazuyoshi Ishigaki from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences; Takashi Sasaki, Sumihiro Maeda, and Kenya Honda from Keio University; and Takahiro Masuda from Kyushu University.

Health Resilience is the ability to recover from a damaged or exhausted state after significant stress events, such as infection, injury, surgery, or stroke. In most of these conditions, immune processes in the central nervous system and peripheral systems are deeply involved and play important roles in recovery. Centenarians tend to be remarkably healthy, maintaining health spans—meaning the healthy part of life—until they reach their late nineties, and represent the ultimate phenotype of health resilience. According to Sasaguri, “We think it is possible that centenarians have unique immune functions that promote recovery from stress events.”

To explore the immune system’s involvement in centenarian resilience and healthy aging, the researchers will analyze samples obtained from centenarians and supercentenarians and attempt to create new animal models of healthy aging. Through these analyses, the researchers aim to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets to induce better health resilience in response to stress events and achieve healthy aging for everyone.

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RIKEN joins Wellcome Leap Global Network (Dec 15, 2021)