Professor Janet Lord discusses her work into the Stem Cells and Aging initiative within the College of Medical and dental Sciences at The University of Birmingham
Title: Stem Cells & Aging – Professor Janet Lord
Duration: 1.35 mins
Speaker Names (if given): S1 Professor Janet Lord – Professor of Immune Biology
S1 My research focus is what happens to our immune system as we age. So the job of the immune system is to fight infections but also to protect us from cancer and also from auto-immune diseases. We know as we get older that we’re more susceptible to infections; so an older adult has more chance of catching a pneumonia, of catching flu, but also they’re more susceptible to cancer as well.
So this is all evidence that our immune system really doesn’t function as well when we age. In most of our work when we’re looking at older adults who’ve got an illness, we always have to have healthy controls; so we work very closely with a great group of volunteers called ‘The Birmingham 1000 Elders’ who are all 65 or over but in good health and they volunteer to come to the University to provide us with blood samples, to help us with questionnaires, to carry out a whole range of research.
The real impact of our research is going to be on health in old age so at the moment we’re living much longer, life expectancy is increasing at two years for every decade; that means five hours a day and I want to make sure that an older adult, if they’re put under any sort of stress, whether it’s a fall, whether it’s caring for a loved one; that they’re still able to enjoy that old age and that they’re not spending time in hospital with infections, feeling unwell and being generally frail after such an event.
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