New drugs are to be prescribed as elixirs of youth.
Researchers claim that a new class of drugs can alleviate symptoms of frailty, improve heart conditions and extend life.
The new drugs, known as senolytics, were hailed by Professor Paul Robbins from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida as “a start in rolling back the years”. “We view this study as a big, first step toward developing treatments that can be given safely to patients to extend healthspan or to treat age-related diseases and disorders,” he said.
“When senolytic agents, like the combination we identified, are used clinically, the results could be transformative.”
Mayo Clinic Professor James Kirkland says:”The prototypes of these senolytic agents have more than proven their ability to alleviate multiple characteristics associated with ageing. “It may eventually become feasible to delay, prevent, alleviate or even reverse multiple chronic diseases and disabilities as a group, instead of just one at a time.”
The study, published in the journal Ageing Cell, tells how the team focused on senescent cells, ones that have stopped dividing, accumulate with age and accelerate the ageing process.
Using mice, they showed that the time free of disease in these rodents was extended by killing off these cells.
The problem they faced was how to identify these cells without harming other healthy cells.
They discovered that like cancer cells, senescent cells have increased expression of “pro-survival networks” that help them resist apoptosis or programmed cell death.
So they used a cancer drug dasatanib and an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory known as quercetin to target senescent cells.
The combination wiped out these cells, leaving the healthy ones untouched.
Researcher Associate Professor Laura Niedernhofer said: “In animal models, the compounds improved cardiovascular function and exercise endurance, reduced osteoporosis and frailty, and extended healthspan.
“Remarkably, in some cases, these drugs did so with only a single course of treatment.”
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