In a recent post in Signals, the blog hosted by the Canadian Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, I outline recent developments in the race to develop senescent cell clearance therapies.
The idea of developing biomedical technologies that can repair the underlying cellular and molecular damage that drives the aging process as a way of treating age-related diseases and extending healthy life span is rapidly gaining traction in the biotechnology community. This type of work is now being crowdfunded, part of a trend in crowdfunding regenerative medicine R&D.
The hypothesis that clearing senescent cells could have a rejuvenating effect received a huge boost this past winter:
In a landmark 2012 study, the Mayo Clinic’s Darren Baker and colleagues established the first proof of concept that senescent cells cause age-related functional decline. They genetically modified progeroid mice – which appear to age rapidly, much like humans affected with progeria – in a way that allowed them to selectively remove a class of senescent cells from the mice’s bodies by administering a drug that induced apoptosis (cell death) in these cells. Crucially, they found that clearing senescent cells on a regular basis delayed the development of age-related conditions in the mice’s skeletal muscle, fat and eyes.
While this study provided a proof of concept using a clever design, the extent to which the findings were generalizable to natural aging was unclear, so Baker and colleagues conducted a follow-up study using naturally-aged mice, published this past February in Nature. They found that clearing senescent cells every two weeks increased the median lifespan of male and female mice by up to 35%, and extended their healthspan by delaying the onset of cancer and attenuating age-related deterioration in the kidneys, heart and fat – all with no observed side effects.
You can read the rest of the post HERE.
The Science of Senescent Cells and Aging
For more on the science of senescent cells and their role in aging, watch this talk by Judith Campisi of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, who is a leading scientist in the field and an advisor to senescent cell clearance startup UNITY Biotechnology.
Crowdfunding Senescent Cell Clearance Therapies
To do your part to accelerate the development of senescent cell clearance therapies, you can also donate to the Major Mouse Testing Program crowdfunding campaign:Tags: aging, anti-aging, biotech, crowdfunding, drug development, fundraising, senescent cells