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Anti-aging drug acts as a smart bomb to take out dysfunctional cells

Date: 13.10.2021 

"Senolytics are a new class of drugs with great potential to ameliorate aging," says the University of Leicester's Dr Salvador Macip, study author. “However, the ones we have found so far are quite unspecific and thus may have strong side effects. That is why there is much interest in a second generation of drugs, the targeted senolytics, which should eliminate senescent cells without affecting the rest."

Kredit: TenOfAllTrades / Wikimedia Commons.The breakthrough builds on earlier research from the team that identified a membrane marker of senescent cells, and showed how it could be targeted to eliminate them with a high level of precision. With this marker in their crosshairs, the scientists developed a novel compound consisting of an antibody loaded with drugs toxic to senescent cells, and put it to the test on cell cultures in the lab.

These proof-of-concept experiments returned some promising results, with the antibody-drug conjugate acting like a "smart bomb," recognizing the senescent cells and pumping them with the toxic drugs to take them out of the equation. The scientists confirmed that the treatment had no effect on non-senescent cells, boding well for the precision and safety of the treatment.

“Copying an idea already in use in cancer therapies, we tweaked an antibody so it could recognize these cells and deliver a toxic cargo specifically into them," says Macip.





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