Science has been concerned with how extending life expectancy can be made possible. Today, for the first time, the focus is on the creation of a pill that will reverse the normal aging process and the problems associated with it (osteoarthritis, memory loss, macular degeneration, cancers, etc.).
This could be achieved with senolytics. Many gerontologists have already examined the effects of these drugs on animals and are now beginning promising clinical trials in humans. If the studies continue to be successful, today’s middle-aged will be the first generation of old men to maintain their youth for a long time, with little medical support.
Scientists are trying to help people grow older by living better, with less pain and less illness. The mere increase in life expectancy without corresponding health improvement is a challenge for the economy. Life expectancy in Britain and Wales has increased almost 25 years in the last century. Sixty-five and eighty-five-year-old care costs twice as much and five times as much as 30-year-olds in the British National Health System.
Sue Ming, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Aging, stresses that healthy aging is important both for people and for governments themselves.
He has been a member of the Mayo Clinical Research Team (Minnesota Academic Medical Center) which has contributed extensively in the field of geriatrics. Specifically, in 2011 the team showed that getting rid of aging cells through a genetic method improves health and increases life expectancy in premature aging mice. The same finding was confirmed in naturally aged rodents in 2016.
Following this effort there were few researchers interested in reproducing these results in humans. However, the method by which aging genes were removed from mice was not considered safe for humans, so a company, Unity Biotech, was formed that would finance efforts to safely remove aging cells from humans.
The first reef for scientists investigating the effects of senolytics was to determine exactly what they are trying to cure, since natural aging itself is associated with a complex systemic decline in the body. Thus, these drugs were initially tested for specific medical conditions (eg chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration), but these efforts are still at an embryonic stage.
Positive effects of these drugs were found in patients with osteoarthritis, although their effect was inhibited when administered at the maximum doses.
Sebastian Gronk from the Max Planck Institute for Aging Biology pointed out that these drugs are of interest to researchers because they look functional even very late in life.
Shu also adds that there is no organism that can resist gerontolytic, as the aging cells they target do not proliferate, and explains that another benefit of this treatment is that it is not daily but can be administered to the individual once a week or month.
At the same time, these drugs appeared to have positive effects on obesity which causes the aging of the cells. Indeed, it was found that obese mice treated in this way also showed reduced levels of anxiety.
Gerontolytics can be used to fight the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer patients by stopping the spread of damaged cells.
The timing of this treatment is yet to be determined.
“Getting it too early can have no harmful effect, but it’s best not to leave it for a last minute,” Sue says. Therefore an attempt is made by blood and urine tests to determine the most appropriate time for each person separately, as not all organisms age at the same rate.
Gronk and other scientists add that, in combination with gerontoliths, reduced consumption of red meat and mild physical activity can have beneficial effects on longevity.
Although there are many still unknown and unexplored aspects of these drugs, Yours has been on the market for five to 12 years now.