In a time of great medical breakthrough, researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the Mayo Clinic have discovered a class of drugs that they believe will greatly slow down the process of aging.
These drugs, according to CTV News, are classified as “senolytics”, and can reverse frailty while also improving cardiac health and longevity. This is an important find to the future of medicine, because it may one day allow scientists to delay, prevent, alleviate or even reverse multiple chronic diseases and disabilities as a group, instead of doing it just one at a time.
Senolytics work by targeting senescent cells, which are aged cells that have stopped dividing. When such cells were killed off in mice, the animals had much more time free of disease, which increased their overall healthspan. However, targeting just these cells without causing harm to any other cells is no easy task. This is because, when senescent cells are attacked, they take on a type of survival orientation that helps them resist death. As such, the scientists had to use two disctinct compounds, the cancer drug dasatinib (Sprycel) and a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory known as quercetin, to selectively snuff out the cells.
The researchers have reported that this is the first big step in treating age-related diseases and disorders. When tested on mice, the formula resulted in improved cardiovascular health and reduced osteoporosis. This even happened sometimes in a single course of treatment. Mice weakened by radiation treatment were also found to regain their exercise endurance within five days after a single dose, and that effect lasted for seven months. While these early trial results of very promising, more testing needs to be done before the method can be approved for use on humans.