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Keeping aging at bay by killing ‘zombie cells’

| | November 1, 2017

[Jan] van Deursen and his colleagues at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, [had] an idea: could killing off these ‘zombie’ cells in the mice delay their premature descent into old age? The answer was yes. In a 2011 study, the team found that eliminating these ‘senescent’ cells forestalled many of the ravages of age.

This anti-ageing phenomenon has been an unexpected twist in the study of senescent cells, a common, non-dividing cell type first described more than five decades ago. When a cell enters senescence — and almost all cells have the potential to do so — it stops producing copies of itself, begins to belch out hundreds of proteins, and cranks up anti-death pathways full blast. A senescent cell is in its twilight: not quite dead, but not dividing as it did at its peak.

The lack of universal features makes it hard to take inventory of senescent cells. Researchers have to use a large panel of markers to search for them in tissue, making the work laborious and expensive.

Van Deursen says that continuing to answer basic biological questions is the field’s best shot at success. “Only then will we be able to understand what ageing really is, and how we can, in an intelligent way, interfere with it.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: To stay young, kill zombie cells

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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