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Treatment helps the immune system remove old cells
Will people no longer suffer from the effects of old age in the future and stay healthy and young for life? Researchers have now developed a treatment that helps the immune system remove old cells, which could be the key to eternal youth.
A recent study by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that targeted treatment enables the immune system to remove certain cells that are involved in aging. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Nature Communications".
What are senescent cells?
The study looked at how the immune system is involved in removing old or aging cells. These cells have not yet completely died, but suffer from loss of function or irreparable damage. These so-called senescent cells, which cause inflammation, have already been associated with typical diseases of old age.
Trial was carried out on mice
The team examined two groups of mice, one of which lacked an important gene for removing old cells, and the other group had the gene. After two years, the mice lacking the gene showed a larger accumulation of aging cells compared to the mice in which the gene was intact. The mice lacking the gene suffered from chronic inflammation and various functions in their bodies appeared to be reduced. The animals also looked older and some died earlier than the control group.
What did the new drug do?
The researchers next gave the mice a drug that inhibits proteins that help aging cells survive in their senescent state. An attempt was made to find out whether this would help remove the cells from the body. The treated mice responded exceptionally well to the drug, their blood tests and activity tests showed improvement, and their tissues appeared to resemble those of younger mice. The researchers found much less aging cells in the bodies of the treated animals. When looking for signs of inflammation, it was found that it was also significantly less common. The mice treated with the drug were more active and their lifespan increased.
Can the treatment give us a longer life?
The accumulation of aging cells in these mice is accompanied by a progressive state of chronic inflammation, the research team reports. This was followed by increased tissue fibrosis and other types of tissue damage, as well as impaired organ function. The poor health of the treated aging mice was associated with a decrease in fitness, weight loss, an older appearance and a shorter lifespan compared to the untreated mice. The pharmacological elimination of aging cells in these mice extended their lifespan, the researchers concluded. (as)