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Senolytics shown to improve health in mice, even late in life: Six AFAR experts co-authored research in Nature Medicine

Jul 13
2018

Senolytics shown to improve health in mice, even late in life: Six AFAR experts co-authored research in Nature Medicine View MoreBACK

On July 9, 2018, Nature Medicine published research co-authored by six AFAR experts:

2008 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award winner and 2011-2017 National Scientific Advisory Council member Yuji Ikeno M.D., Ph.D.
2002 Glenn/AFAR Scholarship on the Biology of Aging recipient Nathan LeBrasseur Ph.D.
President-Elect, AFAR Board of Directors, and 2012 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award winner James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.
• Current National Scientific Advisory Council member, 2017 Pilot grantee, and 2018 Vincent Cristofalo awardee Laura Niedernhofer M.D., Ph.D.
2015 Glenn/AFAR Scholarships for Research in the Biology of Aging recipient Allyson Palmer M.D., Ph.D.
2014 Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Translational Research on Aging & 2017 Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Awards in Aging fellow Ming Xu Ph.D.

The major study, “Senolytics improve physical function and increase lifespan in old age,” concludes that “senescent cells can cause physical dysfunction and decreased survival even in young mice, while senolytics can enhance remaining health- and lifespan in old mice.”

Dr. Kirkland, the senior author of the latest study, was part of the Mayo Clinic team that, in 2015, discovered the first senolytic drugs. The new study used a combination of the compounds dasatinib, which promotes cancer cell death, and quercetin, an antioxidant found in apples and other foods.

Researchers from Mayo Clinic and other collaborators also found that transplanting senescent cells—or “zombie” cells--into younger mice caused them to become frail and die sooner. But using senolytics on the transplanted younger mice prevented or even reversed the serious health outcomes.

“We can say with certainty that senescent cells can cause health problems in young mice, including causing physical dysfunction and lowering survival rates, and that the use of senolytics can significantly improve both healthspan and lifespan in much older naturally aged animals,” Kirkland says.

Future clinical trials that test the efficacy and safety of senolytics in people will demonstrate whether the benefits seen in mice will ultimately translate to humans.

Read the published research in Nature Medicine here and a AFAR press release here.  The study has been picked by a range of outlets including US News and World Reports. A press release from the National Institute of Health can be read here.


Yuji Ikeno M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Physiology at Mayo Clinic.

James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic.

Laura Niedernhofer M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute Florida campus.

Allyson Palmer M.D., Ph.D. is an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Mayo Clinic.

Ming Xu, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at UConn Center of Aging at UConn Health.





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