Ponce de Leon thought he might find the fountain of youth in magical waters. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the Scripps Research Institute just published a report that suggests it might not be water……but a pill that can fight the aging process!
Researchers are moving closer to realizing the clinical potential of drugs that have previously been shown to support healthy aging in animals. In a review article published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Mayo Clinic aging experts say that, if proven to be effective and safe in humans, these drugs could be “transformative” by preventing or delaying chronic conditions as a group instead of one at a time.
According to U.S News & World Report, “The drugs in question are known as senolytic agents that target senescent cells – cells that have stopped dividing and started secreting toxic chemicals, thus hurting nearby cells. These cells add up as people age and are linked to conditions like diabetes, dementia and most cancers. Mayo Clinic researchers were the first to create senolytic drugs to go after these cells…….Now they’re looking at the challenges ahead as they move toward clinical trials.”
The “geroscience hypothesis” is relatively new to the world of accepted science. It states that targeting the fundamental mechanisms of aging can help treat or delay the onset of age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and various forms of cancers. The idea is to increase healthspan: the years in which people are viable, active members of society. The subtext though, is that these treatments also have the potential to delay aging itself.
CNN.com quoted Dr. James Kirkland, director of the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic and lead author of the new paper, as saying, “This is one of the most exciting fields in all of medicine or science at the moment. The same processes that cause aging seem to be the root causes of age-related diseases,” he said. “Why not target the root cause of all of these things? That would have been a pipe dream until a few years back.”
Is it possible these senolytic drugs that researchers believe can wipe out the senescent cells while leaving healthy cells intact….can become our version of the fountain of youth?
These drugs have been tested—and proven effective—in animal models, but the trials need to expand to humans to see if the same findings apply to people, too. If they do, it’s possible these drugs can prevent or delay age-related conditions as a group, instead of piecemeal one at a time.
We’d love to hear what you think about this new research. Let us know if you are cautious, optimistic, or cautiously optimistic about the possibilities of a pill that can combat aging. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!