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`Elixir of youth` comes closer to reality


Washington: A pill that could give us a longer life seems to be on the horizon after a team of researchers were able to extend the lifespan of mice by 35 percent.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that senescent cells, which are cells that no longer divide and accumulate with age, negatively impact health and shorten lifespan by as much as 35 percent in normal mice.

The results demonstrated that clearance of senescent cells delays tumor formation, preserves tissue and organ function, and extends lifespan without observed adverse effects.

Cellular senescence is a biological mechanism that functions as an ’emergency brake’ used by damaged cells to stop dividing, says senior author Jan van Deursen, adding that while halting cell division of these cells is important for cancer prevention, it has been theorized that once the ’emergency brake’ has been pulled, these cells are no longer necessary.

The team used a transgene that allowed for the drug-induced elimination of senescent cells from normal mice. Upon administration of a compound called AP20187, removal of senescent cells delayed the formation of tumors and reduced age-related deterioration of several organs.

Median lifespan of treated mice was extended by 17 to 35 percent. They also demonstrated a healthier appearance and a reduced amount of inflammation in fat, muscle and kidney tissue.

First author Darren Baker noted that the advantage of targeting senescent cells is that clearance of just 60-70 percent can have significant therapeutic effects. If translatable, because senescent cells do not proliferate rapidly, a drug could efficiently and quickly eliminate enough of them to have profound impacts on healthspan and lifespan.

The study appears in Nature. (ANI)

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