Ongoing Pursuit of the Elusive Fountain of Youth
A recent study at the Mayo Clinic suggests there may be a way to slow down the aging process. With the research project in its very early stages there is no way to know where it may lead, but count us as interested observers given the potential impact that developments like this could have on medical care costs (particularly as life expectancies continue rising).
Most young, healthy cells divide continuously in order to keep body tissues and organs functioning properly, but eventually stop splitting — a state called senescence — and are replaced by others. Senescence occurs throughout life, but people’s ability to clear such cells from their bodies decreases with age, leading to a buildup.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found for the first time that by using a drug to target and kill senescent cells, they could essentially freeze some aspects of the aging process.
“If you could clear senescent cells, you perhaps could treat age-related diseases as a group rather than individually,” said Jan van Deursen, senior author of the paper and a professor in the departments of biochemistry and pediatric and adolescent medicine at Mayo.