Anti-aging drugs show promise

An ongoing Mayo Clinic study focuses on drugs that allowed senescent cells, found at the center of many diseases associated with aging, to "self-destruct" without damaging other healthy cells.

Posted: Oct. 11, 2018 10:33 AM

(KARE) At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota there's a thrilling thought.

"The ideal would be is if people could live to be 90 or 100 and feel like they're 50 or 60," says Dr. James Kirkland, a geriatrics researcher at Mayo Clinic who heads the Kogod Center on Aging.

It sounds impossible, yet Dr. James Kirkland and his Mayo team are working on a solution by targeting particular cells in our bodies. They're called "senescent cells." Everyone has them and they're at the center of our chronic diseases like cancer, dementia, diabetes, and cardiac diseases.

"They tend to accumulate with increasing age and they are also present at the sites of major chronic diseases," Dr. Kirkland explains.

So, they thought, how can we safely get rid of these dysfunctional cells?

Senolytic drugs may be the answer.

Dr. Kirkland's team tested mice and discovered that these drugs allowed the senescent cells to "self-destruct" without damaging other healthy cells. In other words, older mice looked younger and became healthier.

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