Critter Corner: Is There a Drug that Treats Aging?

Dear BeBe,

I know you are an older cat at 17. I’m also getting old — way too quickly. There seems to be a pill for everything. Is there anything out there that can slow down aging?

Thanks for your help!

A. “Jing” Tufast

Dear Jing,

There very well may be a drug to treat aging available in the not-so-distant future. And, I’m hoping they are working on one for cats also!

Earlier this week, doctors at the Mayo Clinic and the Scripps Research Institute published a review article in the Journal of American Geriatrics calling and outlining designs for human clinical trials on the first class of drugs developed specifically to treat aging.

Senolytics, developed at the Mayo Clinic, is the first class of drug developed from the ground up to delay or treat aging.

Here’s how it works: Normally, cells die a “complete” death. Senescence is when a cell sort of zombifies: After senescence, the cell doesn’t replicate or do anything useful. Senescent cells can cause health problems, and have been associated with failing heart health, osteoporosis, general run-of-the-mill frailty, and even cancer. The new senolytic drugs target a specific gene that, once triggered, convince these “zombie” cells to die off, without harming otherwise healthy cells.

Good news is that senolytics appeared to reverse the effects of aging in mice. Developers of senolytics are advocating for immediate progress into human testing. “[Once] clinical trials are completed and the potential adverse effects of senolytic drugs are understood fully,” they write, “it is conceivable that the rapidly emerging repertoire of senolytic agents might transform medicine as we know it.”

Hope they develop these drugs soon, so I can stay youthful and you can too!

Purrs and snuggles,

BeBe

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