Senescence: Anti-aging drug trials “might transform medicine as we know it”

Sept 9, 2017 (Windy Hill Beach, South Carolina) — Is aging a disease that can be treated? A paper published this week in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society describes why and how senescence researchers are planning preclinical human trials of senolytic drugs. Their abstract states that “In studies in animals, targeting senescent cells using genetic or pharmacological approaches delays, prevents, or alleviates multiple age-related phenotypes, chronic diseases, geriatric syndromes, and loss of physiological resilience. Among the chronic conditions successfully treated by depleting senescent cells in preclinical studies are frailty, cardiac dysfunction, vascular hyporeactivity and calcification, diabetes mellitus, liver steatosis, osteoporosis, vertebral disk degeneration, pulmonary fibrosis, and radiation-induced damage.” The research, they write, “could transform geriatric medicine by enabling prevention or treatment of multiple diseases and functional deficits”. The following story about the research published in today’s Boston Herald prompted me to look for the journal article. Some of the highlights from the Herald story:

* The therapy aims to correct a phenomenon known as senescence, which is when human cells become zombie-like — they are not active, but they fail to undergo the programmed death that normally occurs at the end of a cell’s lifespan. Although their activity ceases, they give off inflammatory proteins that can cause a variety of diseases, including cancer.

* “I see a future where people will go in and have a dose of this, and reset their clock,” said Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair. “This is one of the biggest developments in the last decade in aging research and in medicine. If it works, it will be transformational for human health.”

Boston Herald
Sep 9 2017

A new class of anti-aging therapy is poised for human trials, opening the door to an era of “eternal youth” medicine straight from the pages of a science-fiction novel, say local researchers. “I see a future where people will go in and have a dose more...

The journal article that this story refers to is

Kirkland, J. L., Tchkonia, T., Zhu, Y., Niedernhofer, L. J. and Robbins, P. D. (2017), The Clinical Potential of Senolytic Drugs. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14969

The abstract is freely available online at where you can access the full article for $6.

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