A new class of drugs identified and validated by Mayo Clinic researchers along with collaborators at Scripps Research Institute and others, clearly reduces health problems in mice by limiting the effect of senescent cells — cells that contribute to frailty and diseases associated with age. The researchers say this is a first step toward developing similar treatments for aging patients. Their findings appear today in the journal Aging Cell.
“If translatable to humans — which makes sense as we were using human cells in many of the tests – this type of therapy could keep the effects of aging at bay and significantly extend the healthspan of patients,” says James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Mayo Clinic Kogod Center on Aging and senior author of the study.
The drugs — called senolytics — selectively kill senescent cells without harming nearby cells and tissue, to reduce heart and vascular problems, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and neurological problems. Senescent cells are cells that appear with aging and at sites of many age-related diseases. They produce factors that can damage the cells and tissues around them and at a distance, amplifying their effects. In many examples, the drugs caused significant and visible reduction of multiple conditions after just one dose – and remained therapeutic for up to seven months. The researchers say that this long lasting effect is consistent with a change in cellular or tissue composition.
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