Could this be the fountain of youth? Drug that clears out dead cells left mice more active with lower levels of inflammation. If we want to extend life, we might need to lean into death.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel investigated how the immune system clears away ageing cells
These cells are not completely dead but are irreparably damaged .
They administered a drug that blocked a certain protein, which normally allows ageing cells to thrive. A New Treatment Restored Youth to Decrepit Mice by Killing “Zombie” Cells.
Dr Valery Krizhanovsky said: ‘Pharmacological elimination of senescent cells from these mice extended their lifespan.
The scientists counted senescent cells, finding many fewer of them remaining in the treated mice’s bodies; and when they looked for signs of inflammation, they found that this, too, was significantly lower. The mice treated with the drug were more active and their median lifespan rose.
The scientists intend to continue exploring ways to prompt the human body to remove its old senescent cells, particularly to find means of activating the immune system to do this job.
That is, if future experimentation proves their theories correct, they could end up creating truly “anti-ageing” therapies.
‘These findings demonstrate the importance of immune clearance of senescent cells for the ageing process, as well as the relevance and the potential promise of pharmacological elimination of senescent cells in counteracting the age-related phenotypes.’ Dr. Valery showed this in a series of experiments on mice by messing with a genetic “on-switch” that helped their immune systems target these aging cells — this actually hampered their ability to detect these decrepit cells, which promoted premature aging. Then he looked to reverse the process by giving them a drug, called ABT-737, which he hoped would arm the immune system with the capacity to find the aging cells and destroy them.
Identifying the risks that might be:-
He notes that we still don’t know what may happen over time when we help the immune systems target aging cells for removal. Krizhanovsky’s experiment was conducted over several months, but there could be unforeseen (and perhaps disastrous) consequences in the long term.