Health & Wellbeing

Senolytics: A new class of drugs with the potential to slow the aging process

Senolytics: A new class of dru...
It is hope a new class of drugs found to slow the aging process in mice could have the same effects in humans (Photo: Shutterstock)
It is hope a new class of drugs found to slow the aging process in mice could have the same effects in humans (Photo: Shutterstock)
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It is hope a new class of drugs found to slow the aging process in mice could have the same effects in humans (Photo: Shutterstock)
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It is hope a new class of drugs found to slow the aging process in mice could have the same effects in humans (Photo: Shutterstock)

It's a cruel irony that when we're young we want to be older, but when we're older we want to be younger. While few would advocate research into ways to make kids grow up faster, there are plenty of efforts underway looking to forestall the rigors of age. The latest cause for hope in this area comes in the form of a new class of drugs called senolytics, which have been shown to dramatically slow the aging process in animal models.

As we age, senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped dividing, build up in our bodies and accelerate the aging process. Knowing that killing off these cells increases the amount of time mice are free of disease (known as the "healthspan"), scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Mayo Clinic and other institutions set out to find treatments that could do this in humans without damaging other cells.

They found that senescent cells were similar to cancer cells in that they boasted an increased expression of so called pro-survival networks that help them resist apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This finding allowed them to narrow the search for potential drug candidates and hone in on two available compounds. The first was dasatinib, a cancer drug marketed under the name Sprycel, and quercetin, a natural compound sold as a supplement that acts as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

Tests in cell cultures showed that these two compounds did selectively induce death of senescent cells, targeting different cells. The dasatinib eliminated senescent human fat cell progenitors, while quercetin was found to be most effective in eliminating senescent human endothelial cells and mouse bone marrow stem cells. However, the best overall results were achieved with a combination of the two compounds.

Moving out of the Petri dish, old mice given a single dose of the drugs exhibited improved cardiovascular function within five days, with mice weakened by radiation therapy used for cancer treatment showing improved exercise capacity. The improvement was found to last for at least seven months after the drugs were administered. The healthspan was also extended in mice models with accelerated aging that were periodically administered the drugs, with age-related symptoms of spine degeneration and osteoporosis delayed.

The researchers point out that it is possible that long-term treatment of both compounds may have side effects, but they remain hopeful of the potential of their findings.

"Senescence is involved in a number of diseases and pathologies so there could be any number of applications for these and similar compounds," says TSRI Professor Paul Robbins, PhD. "Also, we anticipate that treatment with senolytic drugs to clear damaged cells would be infrequent, reducing the chance of side effects."

The team's research appears in the journal Aging Cell.

Source: The Scripps Research Institute

10 comments
Buellrider
The scientists will not release this new class of drugs for at least 200 years when those same scientists will have shown conclusively that these drugs do work. 200 years from now they will publish their results.
Andrew Conrod
With the rapid advancements in medicine it baffles me as to why it takes so long to bring those advancements to the masses. I understand the need for proper testing. Maybe the next advancement will be something that speeds up showing how safe new treatments are so we can actually benefit.
StWils
Buell, you are close but not quite. It is the Tea Party who wants to trash Social Security that will want to suppress this. Unless of course, they can have exclusive marketing control.
Don Rathburn
Andrew, that process has been blocked. The elites in this world want to drastically reduce the population of peasants. They are consuming too many resources and destroying the earth. Not sustainable, you know. No revolutionary breakthroughs are going to make it to the common people.
Don Duncan
You can thank the FDA for stopping quick benefits from new drugs. You can thank the collectivist mentality that everybody should be forced to live as the bureaucrats dictate for the lack of freedom. The "land of the free and home of the brave" has become the "land of the taxed and regulated, and the home of the meek".
DonGateley
Guys, quercetin is readily available as a supplement. A company that goes by FRS sells a subscription to a bag of chews that contain 125mg of it per chew. To my palate the Pomegranate Blueberry version has a really good taste, more like a good candy. (I am a subscriber only and not otherwise affiliated.) What I'd like to know if anyone has access to the referenced paper and can deduce it is what mg/kg per day dosage was found to be effective in the in vivo research.
Derek Howe
First of all, there is way to many comments made by Don's...stop it. secondly, Don R., the "elites" aren't all in cahoots. Those "elites", aka the wealthy, likely own large businesses. Those businesses would go under if they did employ a ton of people...if all those people that you call peasants died off, then their company would shrivel up and die. Breakthroughs happen all the time, mostly in the technology field. In the medical field things need to be tested very thoroughly to make sure it is safe & doesn't do more harm then good. Thankfully, technology is also what will help the medical community, which is right on the cusp of making medical breakthroughs happen much more often. Things like the Scanadu Scout, or rHEALTH X1.
Wombat56
Yep, quercetin is available from many brands. My usual US supplements supplier has it for less than $10 USD a bottle from a reputable company in 500 mg doses.
christopher
"dramatically slow the aging process in animal models." Cool! And seriously, who cares how long ugly animals live for anyhow?
Landshark
The PDF says 5mg/kg of Desatinib and 50mg/kg of Quercetin. (not stated a recommendation or opinion or suggestion or anything else that could possibly lead you to think I said to take that much. Just spelling out the PDF for people who asked) Quite a big dose for most of us non-mouse sized oldies...