Discovery of A New Cause As To Why We Age

We all age, perhaps some more gracefully than others, nevertheless, we do it.  It’s a natural biological way of life so it’s bound to happen. There is no escaping it, and it can’t be avoided or can it? Scientists have spent years trying to uncover the exact connection as to why humans age. Fortunately, a recent investigation may give rise to more answers as to the way how our cells age.

The research is to be conducted by a team of scientists from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Their findings are meant to give a better understanding of the aging process. It is also believed that the results can lead to potentially better cancer treatment options and the creation of newer and safer drugs to improve overall health.

For the team to successfully undergo the scientific research, it had to be first determined what exactly makes us age. It was confirmed that the culprit behind our aging stems from the process of senescence, which is the natural procedure where the biological cells permanently stop producing new cells. This is one of the key factors that generates certain illnesses like arthritis, heart disease and even osteoporosis. In addition, the senescent cells then stop generating the chemical called nucleotides, which is the critical building block of DNA. At this point the cells begin to age slowly.

In an interesting twist, however, Assistant Professor of the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Unit at USC, Nick Graham, was gratified to find how the senescent cells can benefit the body against cancer. He explains that if the cells are damaged and does not regenerate, the cancer cells are hindered from further developing and spreading, henceforth, stopping the disease in its tracks.

With such advancement already seen, it seems that the reality of a drug that can extend human life is ever more prevalent. In fact, The Jackson Laboratory and the National Institute on Aging in the United States have been testing a drug called rapamycin on animals. So far, they have tested it on mice, flies, worms and dogs and have shown that their life span has extended by an average of 25%.  Other organisations have been just an active in finding new discoveries as well. PureTech, a pharmaceutical research facility, aims to reverse immunosenescence, which is the deterioration of the immune system as a result of the natural aging process.

Researchers at USC are no different. They intend on developing a series of senolytic drugs that can help eliminate aging cells. This way they would be able to remove the senescent cells in order to encourage a healthy way of aging. For the drugs to be effective, further study on the unique characteristics and metabolism capabilities of the senescent cells will have to be carried out in hopes of designing better therapeutic options in the future.

References:

  1. New cause of cell aging discovered, July 2019, ScienceDaily
  2. 12 Innovations That Could Make Reverse Aging a Reality, Interesting Engineering
  3. Science of why we age, 2018, Medical Express