What if there was a way to increase your lifespan and delay the onset of age-related disorders on the cellular level through non-invasive treatments? What if symptoms of old age ranging from hair thinning to Alzheimer’s disease could be delayed by simply taking medicine? This is exactly what the scientific community is hoping will be possible with senolytics and so far the research has shown promising results.
At Aspire Regenerative, we are constantly assessing clinical data and monitoring progress in new scientific frontiers, so we can bring our patients the best treatment options available. Senolytics are showing tremendous potential in a wide range of possible applications for the future and we will continue to keep a close eye on the upcoming trials and research.
What Exactly Are Senolytics?
Senolytics is a term used to describe any senolytic compounds (drugs, plant extracts, or peptides) or cell-clearing therapies that work to eliminate senescent cells from the body. Examples of senolytics include theaflavins (derived from black tea), dasatinib, and quercetin (a flavanol found in many plants).
How Do Senolytics Work?
Proper cell regeneration is necessary for long life and the healthy function of every organ, bone, and system within the human body. Healthy cells within our bodies are constantly undergoing a process of dividing, regenerating, and being replaced by new cells and stem cells at various rates. Skin cells regenerate about every 27 days, which is part of what allows our skin to heal itself after being cut or scraped. Blood cell regeneration gives us the ability to donate blood without becoming seriously ill.
As we age, this process becomes disrupted. Some of both our stem cells and non-stem cells begin to enter a state of senescence, which means they stop dividing and regenerating. Senescent cells, sometimes referred to as “zombie cells” aren’t able to support the function of the tissues they are a part of and worse, they emit chemical signals that can cause nearby cells to also enter a state of senescence.
Senescent cells are typically eliminated from the body by our immune system or through a process of programmed cell death known as apoptosis. However, as we age, our immune system becomes less effective and senescent cells aren’t properly eliminated from the body.
When these senescent cells accumulate, they can become the catalyst for numerous age-related diseases to begin to develop. A build-up of senescent cells can lead to chronic inflammation, degradation of tissue function, an increased risk of cancer, and the onset of many other age-related disorders.
Senolytics target these senescent cells, preventing them from building up as quickly and actually slowing down the aging process on a cellular level within the body, thus promoting the proper function of tissues and organs within the body.
What Have We Learned About Senolytics So Far?
Senolytics were first studied for their anti-aging potential in 2011 by a team from the Mayo Clinic in the United States and since then senolytics have garnered attention from scientists around the globe. A 2016 trial showed an increase in the lifespan of laboratory mice that were given senolytics by 17 to 35 percent.
Based on these findings, many scientists are now looking for ways to target senescent cells in an effort to treat a range of age-related diseases. At Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, researchers have identified a peptide that kills senescent cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells. When this peptide was administered to laboratory mice, the results were significant. Patches of missing fur began to regrow on their coats and they were able to run twice as far as mice from the control group who had not been given the peptide.
While there is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted before senolytics can be manufactured in pill form or administered to human patients on a large scale, several researchers have begun preliminary human trials. The trials have revealed that it is theoretically possible that senolytics could become available to patients to treat certain disorders within the next decade.
A first-in-human trial conducted by University of Texas San Antonio researchers in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and Wake Forest School of Medicine showed promising results in the use of senolytics to treat Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF, a type of lung disease that results in scarring of lung tissue. Patients enrolled in this trial showed an improvement in their six-minute timed walking distance by an average of 21.5 meters, something no other drug or therapy currently available has been shown to improve.
What Might Senolytics Be Used To Treat?
The potential applications of senolytics are so widespread that senolytic research has garnered the attention and financial support of some very prominent figures, including Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos.
In addition to increasing human lifespan, senolytics have gained notoriety for their potential to increase healthspan (or the period of life during which a person experiences little to no pain, illness, and suffering). By increasing a person’s healthspan senolytics could obviously improve the quality of life for individual patients, but they could also impact economies on a more macro level. Reducing healthcare costs for the elderly and increasing the length of time people are physically able to work if they want to would have a tremendously positive effect on nations and the global economy.
The selective elimination of senescent cells in the human body could potentially be used to treat dozens of age-related illnesses including but not limited to:
- Heart Disease
- Heart Attacks
- Neurodegenerative Disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
- Metabolic Disorders such as Diabetes
- Blood Vessel Disease
- Vision Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Vertebral Disk Degeneration
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Liver Steatosis
Senolytics are truly an exciting new frontier in scientific innovation. If you would like to learn more about senolytics or explore a range of cutting-edge treatment options that are currently available, the clinicians at Aspire Regenerative are here to help. Schedule a personalized consultation and let us customize a plan to help you reach your health and wellness goals.