The Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), convened a workshop, "Intersection between Aging Biology and Pathobiology of Lung Diseases" on September 24 and 25, 2015. The workshop brought scientists in aging biology and lung biology together to examine the state of the art knowledge in aging biology and molecular pathobiology of lung diseases to identify the intersection between the two research areas, the knowledge gaps at the intersection, and exceptional opportunities in lung science that will (a) advance our mechanistic understanding of age-related lung disease and sleep perturbation, (b) elucidate the genetic and epigenetic factors that impact both aging and lung diseases, (c) develop/apply new technologies for/to lung research. The workshop also highlighted the potential to apply knowledge and technologies related to the lung biology of senescence to identify biomarkers and new therapeutic strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases.
The presentations and discussions were clustered in five sessions:
The strong clinical association between advanced age and the incidence of acute and chronic lung disease suggests a fundamental link between the pathobiology of aging and many lung diseases. Hence, the study of aging biology needs to extend beyond aging researchers to encompass the overall community of researchers studying lung disease. Previous research has provided insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying aging at the cellular and organismal level, but additional research is needed to link these processes and pathways with phenotypes in the aging lung and with the susceptibility to lung disease. Key research challenges and opportunities that were identified by workshop participants are as follows.