Healthy ageing poses a socioeconomic challenge of great magnitude in advanced societies, where the ageing population is constantly on the rise. This leads to great imbalances in healthcare and in the sustainability of the universal healthcare system. Thus, the Eustat, in its document “Population projection in Gipuzkoa 1995-2020”, predicts a seriously imbalanced global population census, since the bottom of the pyramid will be much smaller, while the older group (>65) will undergo considerable growth, reaching a relative weight in population as a whole of 24% by 2020.

Aware of this reality, IIS Biodonostia proposed an R+D+i strategy focused on ageing in the year 2013. It was named with the acronym IKAGURE-BD and involves different agents from the region that work in healthcare. To this end, Scientific Management stimulated the debate amongst different agents focused on ageing research in the region, and promoted interaction between different IIS Groups, since practically all of them are horizontally effected by the ageing study.

Based on this, priority was placed on conducting studies that had previous experience/know-how within the framework of the Institute and competitive funding or a reasonable estimation that it would be obtained in different calls. A philosophy was undertaken to take advantage of pre-existing case and control cohort studies to achieve maximum efficiency in assigning resources.


Globally, the Strategy aims to achieve the following general objective:

Combine and integrate the knowledge generated by the different lines of research to efficiently provide evidence on the characteristics and determining factors of the ageing process with a multi-disciplinary approach.

To achieve this global objective, the Strategy is divided into different thematic areas that are highly interrelated. Their main lines are:

      1. Characterisation of biological determining factors responsible for ageing, as well as progress in identifying their mutual physiopathological substrate.
        1. Stem cells.
        2. Senescence.
        3. Autophagy.
      2. Identification of environmental and biological factors in healthy ageing, and that lead to premature ageing (human ageing models).
        1. Nonagenarians and centenarians.
        2. Myotonic dystrophy.
        3. AIDs.
      3. Determinants of active and healthy ageing and fragility study.
        1. Fragility.
        2. Promotion of active and healthy ageing.
      4. Epidemiological, social and economic burden of ageing.
        1. Evaluation of healthcare models and social-healthcare integrated into the elderly population.
        2. Epidemiological and economic burden of diseases related to ageing.

Additional information: Memoria IKAGURE 2018.

Dr. Ander Matheu:
Dra. Itziar Vergara: