Ageing damage passes through cells, a process known as cellular senescence, eventually leading to tissue dysfunction and related health impacts – or more simply put, getting old.
However, researchers have discovered a way to reverse this ageing process in the cells which could lead to healthier and longer lives.
Older cells are less able to turn genes on and off to react to the environment which makes us more vulnerable to diseases which ultimately kill us off.
Scientists from the University of Minnesota Medical School faculty have found that there are a few molecules called senolytics that can reverse the impact of aged, senescent cells.
The researchers used senolytic drugs to eliminate senescent cells and found that by doing so, they reverse physical dysfunction and actually extend lifespan even when used in aged animal models, according to the research published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Doctor Paul Robbins, Associate Director of the newly founded Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism (iBAM), said: “We’ve always thought of ageing as a process, not a disease.
“But what if we can influence the impacts of ageing at a cellular level to promote healthy ageing? That’s what senolytics seeks to achieve.”
“Previous research has shown that our immune system’s ability to eliminate or deal with senescent cells is based 30 percent on genetics and 70 percent on environment.
“We saw greater activity, more endurance, and greater strength following use of senolytics.
Laura Niedernhofer, Director of iBAM, added: This area of research is promising, not just to address the physical decline that comes with ageing, but also to enhance the health of cancer survivors treated with radiation or chemotherapy—two treatments that can induce cell senescence.”