Scientists have recently discovered a class of drugs, which may be able to help us live a longer and healthier life.
The new class of drugs, identified by the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Mayo Clinic and other institutions, and have been termed "senolytics," dramatically slow the aging process, alleviate symptoms of weakness, improve cardiac function, hence extending a healthy lifespan in animal models.
Lead researcher, Professor Paul Robbins, PhD, said that they consider the study to be the first big step toward developing treatments that can be given safely to patients to extend healthspan or to treat age-related diseases and disorders.
Senior author, Professor James Kirkland, MD, PhD added that the prototypes of the senolytic agents have more than proven their ability to alleviate multiple characteristics associated with aging. It may eventually become feasible to delay, prevent, alleviate or even reverse multiple chronic diseases and disabilities as a group, instead of just one at a time.
Senescent cells-cells that have stopped dividing-accumulate with age and accelerate the aging process. Since the "healthspan" in mice is enhanced by killing off these cells, the scientists reasoned that finding treatments that accomplish this in humans could have tremendous potential.
The authors caution that more testing was needed before it was used in humans. They also note both drugs in the study have possible side effects, at least with long-term treatment.
The research is published online by the journal Aging Cell.