A collaboration of expertise developing targeted approaches and therapeutics for age-related diseases


Human lifespans are increasing. With that however comes the reality that many of us will end up living with multiple co-existing conditions – a strain on our daily lives and on the healthcare services expected to support us.

The UK SPINE Knowledge Exchange project sets out to improve health in old age, by accelerating the development of new and affordable therapies by targeting the generic processes driving ageing and age-related diseases.

With the support of funding from Research England UK SPINE has developed a ‘spine’ of partners throughout the UK, providing the complementary expertise needed to deliver new medicines from the earliest stages of discovery to exploratory clinical studies.


Addressing the co-morbidities of ageing

Ageing itself is not a disease -however, the science of ageing is complex. Understanding the common co-morbid diseases related to ageing and identifying the common underlying processes such as senescence, metabolic defects, cellular inflammation, DNA damage and tissue repair will lead to new therapeutic interventions providing solutions to patients who have been taking multiple drugs for years.


Discovering new targets: identifying targets that modulate the hallmarks of ageing, aligning these to disease and ultimately slowing or preventing the development of multi-morbidities.

Generating testable hypotheses: developing a clinically testable hypothesis with a clear mechanistic and translatable link. This will involve validated and identifiable biomarkers.

Developing a sound economic case: demonstrating the health, economic and real-world evidence-based case to underpin commercial viability and unlock funding from sponsors.


Framework ratified to support future drug discovery: targets, mechanisms and ways of working that can be partnered with industry and others to improve a generation of therapeutics for those impacted by age related health conditions.

Safety and efficacy: develop molecules that can be administered to a potentially already compromised, aged or frail individual.

Regulatory standards: demonstrating value through, and working to inform, existing standards.

Commercial and economic: the robust economic case that will be attractive for investors to fund new research.


Most existing clinical research is currently targeted at existing molecules rather than investigating new routes. This programme will strive to understand drivers of multiple morbidities and lay the groundwork to enable drug discoveries at pace with a viable route to market.

“The UK SPINE is a unique opportunity creating flow of knowledge and innovation which so often remains in siloes, between academic and commercial partners. The area of multi-morbidity is of growing and profound importance for the sector and the globe.”

Dr Beverley Vaughan, Programme Director