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Can Aging be Cured? Scientists Are Giving it a try

Jan 11, 2023

The desire for immortality has been a common pursuit since the dawn of human civilization. For many years, it was believed that aging is unavoidable and that age-related disorders could not be avoided or reversed.

Geroscience seeks to remedy this by delaying the development of age-related disorders or increasing life expectancy. On May 19, 2021, geroscience professionals convened virtually at a New York Academy of Sciences symposium. Presentations and conversations with specialists in the subject revealed that great progress in understanding the processes behind biological aging had been accomplished. These processes contribute to elderly persons' vulnerability. The presentations focused on discovering aging biomarkers and exploring strategies to prevent and treat age-related disorders.

Some useful terms

Possible Research Topics

Senescence not only occurs with age, but it also triggers aging. Evidence was presented at the meeting showing senescent cells may worsen the clinical outcome of older adults in case of infections (e.g., COVID-19) by causing cytokine storms. Experiments on elderly mice with genetically modified senescent cells or the injection of "senolytic cocktails" containing dasatinib and quercetin protected the animals against the effects of viral infections. This data supports the hypothesis that biological aging factors enhance vulnerability and may be addressed through therapy.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one example of cellular senescence's impacts. Senescent cells exhibit a senescence-associated secretory phenotype, which can be toxic to nearby healthy cells and cause senescence to spread within tissues. Because of this effect, AD is an important focus for researching the usage of senolytics. Furthermore, drugs that promote autophagy may be useful in treating degenerative disorders.

Assessing Therapeutic Effects

The therapeutic benefits of drug candidates may be evaluated using the biomarkers listed below.

New translational strategy: It is common practice to treat each age-related disease individually. An alternative technique would be to target biological aging markers to prevent these diseases from arising. The speed of damage buildup at the macromolecular, organelle, and cellular levels coincides with the rate of biological aging. It also impacts the body's ability to repair the damage. The evaluation of biomarkers would do possible research into the impact of short- and long-term treatments that reduce damage and improve resilience in aging-related diseases.

New Translational Research

The report focuses on two translational research models: an in-depth study of centenarians and examining how immune aging makes older persons susceptible to COVID-19.

The Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) clinical trial will investigate the effect of metformin on aging. This is the first trial to look at aging outcomes. The goal is to establish a regulatory framework that future medicines can use to obtain FDA approval.

Among the cutting-edge research studies are three possible treatment platforms.

  • The first seeks to synthesize adenosine triphosphate, whose levels fall substantially with age.
  • The second attempts to increase autophagy to eliminate cellular waste to treat neurodegenerative illnesses.
  • The third reprograms the epigenome to make it younger.

One of the mitochondrial-derived peptides, humanin, has been shown to exert protective effects on the brain, heart, and liver. The researchers discovered that mitochondrial proteins change with age and are suppressed by growth hormone and IGF-1. Moreover, the humanin levels are correlated with endothelial function. Animal studies have demonstrated that sustained humanin levels are favorably associated with longevity; these findings are supported by data from centenarians and their offspring, who have greater levels of humanin.

Establishing a Translational Geroscience Network comprised of scientists from various institutions should hasten the application of this information. Despite continuing research and clinical trials, senolytics should not be considered for extending life or treating specific illnesses because their entire safety profiles have yet to be determined.

Reference

  1. DeVito LM, Barzilai N, Cuervo AM, Niedernhofer LJ, Milman S, Levine M, Promislow D, Ferrucci L, Kuchel GA, Mannick J, Justice J. Extending human healthspan and longevity: a symposium report. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2022 Jan;1507(1):70-83.

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