Expiration date of immunity

New model developed by researchers could predict mortality in elderly

By Author  |  Published: 12th Mar 2019  7:05 pm
Early onset

Researchers have developed a method to assess the ‘age of patients’ immune systems, thus predicting mortality in older adults. According to researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), the immune age is a kind of biological clock that will help identify an early weakening of the immune system.

The new model will help devise preventive measures to reduce disease and mortality, Xinhua news agency reported. In the study, Technion scientists, along with a team from the Stanford University in California, were able to quantify the changes in the immune system that happen over the years.

In nine years, they characterised the immune systems of 135 healthy people of different ages once a year and built a model that quantifies these changes in a specific person. The data enabled the researchers to quantify the immune age in an index called ‘IMM-AGE score’, which provides information that the chronological age cannot tell.

Using the new method, the team quantified the immunisation age of more than 2,000 elders. The researchers believe that with this method, they will also be able to characterise genes that affect immunisation age, and even identify lifestyle, habits and medications that affect the ‘age’.

With an increase in inflammatory processes, the human body undergoes slow and constant functional weakening of the immune system. Ageing of the immune system has devastating consequences, including an inability to cope with infections and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. The quantification of the immune system’s ageing is a complex challenge that requires multidimensional monitoring over time.