We are embracing the Geroscience approach to aging research. This stems from the knowledge that old age is the greatest risk factor for most chronic diseases, often by orders of magnitude. Our goal is to educate the next generation of scientists to lead research in fundamental mechanisms of aging, provide resources to facilitate and accelerate multidisciplinary research on aging, target and drug discovery, and translation.
Recent studies, published in the journals Nature Medicine and EBioMedicine, showed that natural substances called quercetin and fisetin - found in many fruits and vegetables - kill senescent cells in aging mice and improve their health. Senescence is the cellular aging process in which damaged cells send out inflammatory signals that tell the immune system to clear them out. Younger bodies can easily handle this clean-up task, but in older ones, the damaged cells begin to accumulate. This causes low-level inflammation and releases enzymes that break down nearby tissue, leading to age-related disease and damage.
Targeting the damaged cells with a senolytic drug (in this case, fisetin) improved physical function in the mice in the study. The next step is to learn whether people respond the same way and whether the effect can help stave off debilitating age-related diseases and conditions - and for iBAM researchers to find other means to treat aging processes.
The Mayo Clinic is currently running nearly a dozen clinical trials of senolytics targeting such health issues as Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, osteoarthritis and other conditions - even COVID-19. The hope is that senolytics reduce the mortality rate from COVID-19 for this particularly vulnerable population.