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The 22nd Longevity Prize of the Fondation IPSEN is Awarded to Andrzej Bartke


The Fondation IPSEN Longevity Prize was created in 1996 to recognize the global importance of the continuing increase in human life expectancy. The 2017 prize will be given, today, during the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, in San Francisco (2-3.30 pm). The international jury chaired by Professor Thomas Kirkwood (Newcastle University, UK and Copenhagen University, Denmark), has unanimously decided to award the prize to Andrzej Bartke for his pioneering analysis of the molecular and hormonal mechanisms that can extend mammalian longevity in mice.

The Fondation IPSEN Longevity Prize was created in 1996 to recognise the global importance of the continuing increase in human life expectancy. This remarkable increase has implications for a very wide range of scientific disciplines as well as for the organisation of society in all of its aspects.

“The Fondation IPSEN is justifiably proud to have created an award that recognises the intrinsic scientific interest and importance of the topic. Over more than twenty years, the distinguished list of laureates of the Longevity Prize highlights the complementary ways in which the relevant disciplines are making their contributions”, says Thomas Kirkwood, President of the jury (Newcastle University, UK and Copenhagen University, Denmark).

In 2017, the recipient of the Longevity Prize is Dr. Andrzej Bartke (Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, USA) for his pioneering analysis of the molecular and hormonal mechanisms that can extend mammalian longevity in Ames dwarf mice. These studies firmly establish neuroendocrine factors as key contributors to the aging processes that affect lifespan.

During this event, Dr. Bartke will present a lecture entitled “Growth and aging; the hidden costs of stature”. Elimination of growth hormone (GH) actions by mutations or targeted gene deletion produces a remarkable extension of longevity in both sexes of laboratory mice. Long-lived GH-deficient and GH-resistant animals are characterized by small body size, delayed puberty, reduced fecundity and a striking delay in multiple symptoms of aging, including the decline of gonadal function. These findings lead to a somewhat counterintuitive conclusion that the normal actions of GH incur significant costs in terms of the impact on aging and longevity. Studies in genetically normal (“wild type”) mice, domestic dogs and various human populations indicate that GH signaling is indeed negatively associated with life expectancy across mammalian species. The evolutionary history of the genetic variation underpinning the trade-offs between growth, maturation, reproductive functions, stress resistance, age-related disease and longevity is difficult to decipher. However, persistence of a wide range of the corresponding phenotypes may benefit survival of populations under challenging environmental conditions.

Andrzej Bartke is Professor of Internal Medicine at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, USA. The focus of his research is on the genetic and hormonal control of aging in mammals. Current work is aimed at identifying mechanisms that link reduced growth hormone action with delayed aging and extended longevity. For this work, he is using mutant mice that live longer than normal mice and show various symptoms of delayed aging, including retention of cognitive function and protection from age-related disease.

The Longevity Prize

Created in 1996, this Prize of the Fondation IPSEN has been awarded every year to renowned specialists in Longevity:

Caleb E. Finch (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA), Vaïno Kannisto (Odense University, Denmark) , Roy L. Walford (formerly University of California Los Angeles, USA), John E. Morley (St. Louis University, USA), Paul B. and Margret M. Baltes (formerly Free University of Berlin, Germany), Justin D. Congdon (University of Georgia, Aiken, USA), George M. Martin (University of Washington, Seattle, USA), James W. Vaupel (Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany), Linda Partridge (University College London, UK), Sir Michael Marmot (University College London, UK), Cynthia Kenyon (University of California, San Francisco, USA), David J.P. Barker (University of Southampton, UK), Gerald McClearn (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA), Jacques Vallin (French National Institute of Demography, Paris, France), Judith Campisi (Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, USA), Thomas Kirkwood (Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK), Linda Fried (Columbia University, New York, USA), Gary Ruvkun (Harvard Medical School - CCIB, Boston, US), Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, USA), Steven N. Austad (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA) and Kaare Christensen (Odense University, Denmark).

Members of the jury

Thomas Kirkwood, President (Newcastle University, UK Copenhagen University, Denmark), Judith Campisi (Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, USA), Eileen Crimmins (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA) , Caleb Finch (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA), Bernard Jeune* (University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark), George Martin* (University of Washington, Seattle, USA), Yasuyuki Gondo (Osaka University, Japan), Jean-Marie Robine (INSERM, Démographie et Santé, Montpellier, France), Bruno Vellas (University of Toulouse, France), Marja Jylhä (University of Tampere, Finland), Steven N. Austad (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA), Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, USA) and a Fondation IPSEN representative.

(* Former Jury Members).

The Fondation IPSEN

Established in 1983 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the ambition of the Fondation IPSEN is to initiate a reflection about the major scientific issues of the forthcoming years. The long-standing mission of the Fondation IPSEN is to contribute to the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge by fostering interaction between scientists and clinicians. It has developed an important international network of scientific experts who meet regularly at meetings known as Colloques Médecine et Recherche, dedicated to three main topics: neurosciences, endocrinology and cancer science. Moreover the Fondation IPSEN has started several series of meetings in partnership with the Salk Institute, the Karolinska Institute as well as with the science journals Cell and Science. The Fondation IPSEN produced several hundred publications and more than 250 scientists have been awarded prizes and grants.

Contact information

Fondation IPSEN
Yannick TANGUY, +33 (0)6 81187860

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