The search for the mythical Fountain of Youth has been on for a long time, but it appears scientists are drawing ever closer to find something close to it. A recent study showed that senolytic drugs helped to improve health in mice and promote longer lifespan.
Cell senescence is believed to be a major issue in aging. Cells grow, divide and die – well, that what the process should be like under normal conditions. This is not the case in older people. Cells become senescent, giving rise to different signs of aging.
From a point in the life of a person, cells start to lose their functions. They stop replicating and yet refuse to die. They practically remain in a rather dormant state, taking up valuable place. The cells are said to have become senescent at that point.
Senescent cells can cause you to age faster. They produce substances that can promote inflammation and worsen age-related conditions. The immune system helps to clear away these cells, but its own function also drops with age.
Researchers had found a gene that seemed to activate cell senescence and thought that finding a way to suppress this may bring about revolutionary improvement in anti-aging medicine.
In the new study carried out at Mayo Clinic, researchers observed that senolytic drugs can help to get rid of these harmful cells and prolong lifespan. They noted that the presence of these villainous cells causes young mice to grow old faster.
Senolytics are a new class of drugs or compounds that help to eliminate senescent cells from the body. They supposedly cause these cells to self-destruct to restore the body to a youthful state.
The findings were made by a research team headed by James L. Kirkland, MD, PhD, a geriatrics researcher at Mayo Clinic. They appeared in the journal Nature Medicine.
For the purpose of this study, the researchers injected both young, four-month-old mice and middle-aged mice with senescent cells. This caused them to age faster and reduced their physical functions. Fewer cells were enough for the middle-aged ones to exhibit desired effects.
An interesting observation was that a lower number of these rogue cells were also needed to cause desired effects in mice on a high-fat diet, compared to lean ones. This is an indication that excessive body fat can speed up the aging clock.
The muscle strength, walking speed, food intake, activity levels, and endurance of the young mice reduced after only two weeks of receiving the senescent cells, compared to those in the control group. More healthy cells also became senescent as a result.
The researchers found that senolytic drugs slowed down the decline in physical function. They destroyed many of the senescent cells after only three days of treatment, restoring vigor.
As for the older mice, whose ages are said to be equivalent to roughly 80 years in human, the compound revved up their physical function as well. They experienced greater strength, increased daily activity, and improved treadmill endurance.
It was estimated that the senolytic drugs increased the lifespan of the older mice by 36 percent, compared to the usual. And longer life didn’t mean battling with age-related disorders – incidence of death as a result of such reduced. Deaths were mostly due to old age.
What Drugs Were Used?
The researchers treated the mice in the study with a D+Q combo, a cocktail of senolytic drugs. This is actually a combination of the substances dasatinib and quercetin.
Dasatinib, which is available under the brand name Sprycel, is an oral chemotherapy medication. Doctors typically use it to treat certain forms of leukemia, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It is in particular used for treatment of Ph+ leukemia cases.
As for quercetin, this is a plant flavonol belonging to the flavonoid group of polyphenols. You can find it in some fruits and vegetables, including apples, kale and red onions. Supplements containing this antioxidant have been promoted for treatment of different disorders, including cancer.
What Does These Findings Mean for Humans?
Further research is still needed to determine whether these senolytic drugs are safe for humans. Although these substances are already being used for different purposes, there appears to be insufficient evidence that they can be beneficial for slowing aging.
The researchers who worked on this new study advise against people using these senolytics until their effectiveness and safety have been shown in clinical trials. If findings from such studies are positive, people can then use them to fight aging and its undesirable effects.
However, additional investigation showed that results from the mice study may be replicated in humans. The researchers found that the senolytic drugs killed senescent cells in human fat samples obtained straight from the operating room within 48 hours!
But more research is still required to know whether these drugs are safe for humans at an anti-aging dose.
What Can You Use to Fight Aging for Now?
Since these interesting senolytic drugs aren’t yet approved for slowing aging in humans, it means all you can do is to wait until they are.
There is also other ongoing research into how to slow aging as well as frailty in the elderly through other means.
Reliance on human growth hormone (HGH) is one of the popular anti-aging options currently available. Many people are talking about how effective it is for reversing the aging clock. You probably have even heard that many celebrities use the substance.
Humans need this hormone for growth and development. But its benefits go beyond just that since it is crucial to different important processes in the body. It is believed to burn fat, promote lean muscle mass, and fight wrinkles, among other benefits.
Research shows that levels decline as people get older. This, some argue, plays a role in signs of aging showing up. So, boosting the amount of the hormone in your body might make some difference.
The use of the synthetic somatropin is the most effective for increasing growth hormone levels. It is an exact replica of the natural substance.
But synthetic HGH has its problems and is costly. It is better to use a good, natural growth hormone supplement instead. Such products simply stimulate natural production and do not usually contain the real hormone.
REFERENCES AND EXPERT AUTHORS
Anti-aging senolytics drugs found to improve mice health and lifespan (https://newatlas.com/senolytics-anti-aging-drug-test/55424/)
Senolytics improve health, extend life: Preclinical research findings | EurekAlert! Science News (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-07/mc-sih070318.php)
Lifespan Extended, Health Improved by Senolytic Drugs | GEN (https://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/lifespan-extended-health-improved-by-senolytic-drugs/81256011)
Dasatinib – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasatinib)
Quercetin – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercetin)