Here’s an interesting article that provides both an update on efforts by drug companies to find medication that changes the aging process and how Washington regulators might stand in the way if such drugs were developed. The approach now being taken differs from what scientists were pursuing a decade ago (and longer), and the ethical and legal issues can be profound.
Anti-aging science has long been viewed with skepticism, a “soft” science more often the province of quacks selling dubious potions like jellyfish extract than serious medical researchers. But senolytic drugs are changing that. The idea behind them is to attack senescent or “zombie” cells – cells that have stopped dividing, but aren’t dead. Senescent cells release toxic and inflammatory compounds that impair the function of healthy cells, and scientists believe they help drive the decline of important body tissue, like organs. Scientists have found that the number of senescent cells increases with aging in mice, monkeys and humans; they’re associated with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and overall frailty.
ln small mammals, scientists have found that killing senescent cells delays and prevents many age-related conditions and diseases.