Senolytics: The New Way to Prevent Aging?

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Clinical studies on senolytics, developed to target senescent cells, show that these drugs and supplements are promising in preventing age-related diseases...

Senescent cells are cells that have stopped dividing and no longer contribute to tissue regeneration—a condition known as cellular senescence. Although senescence serves a beneficial purpose in early life, such as preventing cancerous cells from multiplying, in aging, it becomes problematic. These cells don’t just sit idle; they actively harm the body by secreting a variety of inflammatory and tissue-degrading molecules, collectively known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).

The Dangers of SASP: The molecules within SASP can incite inflammation, damage neighboring cells, and disrupt normal tissue function. This leads to a cascading effect where SASP exposure induces senescence in previously healthy cells, accelerating aging and the decline in organ function. This phenomenon is particularly notable in skin, where increased senescence contributes to wrinkles and decreased elasticity, and in organs like the liver and kidneys, where it can significantly impair function.

Senolytics: Targeted Warriors Against Cellular Senescence
Senolytics are a novel class of drugs designed to specifically target and eliminate senescent cells. By clearing these cells from the body, senolytics aim to reduce inflammation, enhance tissue repair, and potentially extend healthspan.

How Senolytics Work: These drugs function by interfering with the survival pathways that senescent cells use to avoid apoptosis (programmed cell death). Senescent cells upregulate certain proteins that help them resist the cell’s natural self-destruct mechanisms. Senolytics disrupt these pathways, effectively sensitizing senescent cells to their own apoptosis triggers.

“Senolytics are a novel class of drugs designed to specifically target and eliminate senescent cells. By clearing these cells from the body, senolytics aim to reduce inflammation, enhance tissue repair, and potentially extend healthspan.”

Examples of Senolytic Compounds and Their Mechanisms
1. Dasatinib and Quercetin: This combination is one of the most studied senolytic therapies. Dasatinib, a cancer drug, and quercetin, a natural flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, work synergistically to target a wide range of pathways in senescent cells. Research has shown that this combination can effectively clear senescent cells, leading to improvements in cardiovascular health, decreased frailty, and enhanced activity levels in animal models.

2. Fisetin: Another naturally occurring flavonoid, fisetin has gained attention for its potent senolytic effects. Studies have demonstrated that fisetin not only helps in clearing senescent cells but also reduces levels of SASP factors. In mice, fisetin supplementation has been linked to a significant increase in lifespan and a reduction in age-related pathologies.

3. Navitoclax (ABT-263): Originally developed as an anti-cancer drug, navitoclax targets proteins essential for cell survival, making it effective against senescent cells. Its use has shown promise in preclinical studies for conditions like pulmonary fibrosis and osteoarthritis by reducing senescent cell burdens in affected tissues.

Clinical Trials and Potential Interventions
Current Trials: Senolytics are being tested in various clinical scenarios. For instance, dasatinib and quercetin are under investigation for their potential to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease characterized by lung scarring and severe reductions in breathing capacity. Early results are promising, showing improvements in physical function and quality of life.

Future Directions: The potential applications of senolytics extend beyond treating specific diseases to possibly preventing them. For example, reducing senescent cell accumulation might delay the onset of diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and osteoarthritis, all of which are linked to increased cellular senescence.

Challenges and Considerations
While the promise of senolytics is substantial, several challenges remain. Identifying which patients might benefit from such treatments, understanding the long-term effects of clearing senescent cells, and managing the possible side effects of senolytics are critical areas of ongoing research. Additionally, as senescent cells do play roles in processes like wound healing and cellular reprogramming, the timing and dosage of senolytic therapies need careful optimization to avoid unintended consequences.

Here are the 3 key points about senolytics:

1. Positive outcomes: Senolytics open up a new frontier in the fight against
aging and age-related diseases. These therapies offer a targeted approach to
potentially reversing aspects of aging at the cellular level.
2. What do clinical trials say? As research progresses, senolytics are expected
to play a significant role in regenerative medicine. This approach may enable us
to directly target the mechanisms of aging, not just treat the symptoms.
3. Discoveries continue: Scientists are continuing to understand the complex
biology of senescent cells and advancing discoveries in this field. These efforts
are paving the way toward a future where aging can potentially be associated
with a sustained quality of life.

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The information and statements on our website are not intended to guide individuals towards medical diagnosis and treatment. Please consult with your doctor for medical diagnostic and treatment procedures. The contents are shared for informational purposes only, derived from scientific studies prepared by EMC Medya Yayıncılık Ticaret Ltd. Şti.’s researchers, consultants, and authors/scientists, as well as compilations from publicly available publications. Our texts do not contain health statements related to medical diagnosis or treatment

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