Today, nature, a leading academic journal, published an “anti-aging” paper online, and introduced it in a special article. Immediately after its release, the study was widely discussed. Why does this paper arouse people’s interest? In the study, scientists used a cell therapy that successfully killed the mice’s aging cells, reversing some of the pathological changes associated with aging.
More than a decade ago, scientists discovered that animals have a class of “senescent cells.” They no longer split and no longer work. Instead, they spread “negative energy” around, releasing toxic cytokines, causing an inflammatory reaction around them and even damaging the DNA of the surrounding cells.
Scientists believe age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis and even diabetes are linked to these sensiators. So the pharmaceutical industry is developing “anti-aging drugs” that want to kill these sensiators and rejuvenate the body.
The study, published today in Nature, uses a cell therapy called CAR-T to kill senescent cells.
Friends familiar with the pharmaceutical industry may know that CAR-T was originally a ground-breaking cancer treatment. It works very well – we use gene-editing techniques on immune T cells to give them the eye of the cancer cells (also known as CAR). In this way, CAR-T therapy can specifically target these cancer cells, induce an immune response, and kill them.
Then let’s change our minds. If we can teach CAR-T cells to identify senescent cells, will we not be able to turn anti-cancer therapy into anti-aging therapy?
That’s what the researchers think. The first step they took was to look for features on the surface of the sensiated cells. After a series of screenings, they found that a cell surface receptor called uPAR is the “ID card” of the sensiator cell. During aging, the level of this molecule also increases.
Subsequently, the scientists developed CAR-T cell therapy for uPAR and determined that it could effectively destroy cells that express uPAR in cell experiments.
Green CAR-T cells are attacking red senescent cells (Photo: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
Next, it’s the validation of animal experiments. One of the diseases chosen by the researchers was liver fibrosis. This is a chronic disease affected by aging, will slowly develop into cirrhosis, even liver cancer! In the mouse model, the scientists injected a new anti-aging cell therapy and found that the liver fibrosis levels of mice improved significantly compared to the control group.
In also in mouse models with non-alcoholic fatty hepatitis (NASH), this cell therapy can also effectively eliminate senescent cells, reduce fibrosis, and improve liver function.
Illustration of this study (Image Source: References)
The progress made in this study, which is to be applied to humans, also requires addressing safety, effectiveness, and development costs, according to a study in Nature. But in the future, we may be able to use these findings to develop a variety of methods for sensiated cells, multi-pronged, to give aging cells a set of combined punches. With just one shot, maybe our bodies will be younger.
We look forward to this day as soon as possible!