Breakthrough anti-ageing cell discovery could help you stay younger for longer

A white blood cell in your body could be the answer to stopping the diseases that get us as we grow old.

Noa Leach, BBC, Jan 24, 2024

The ‘fountain of youth’ is not locked away in a Sorcerer’s Stone or mythical water feature, according to a new study. In fact, scientists in the USA say the key to slowing ageing is hidden inside our bodies.

Published in Nature Aging, the new research reveals that the trick to anti-ageing lies within the white blood cells known as T cells. The researchers behind the study discovered that they can reprogram these cells to turn them into ageing-cell-killing machines known as CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cells.

When they tested the treatment on mice, the mice went on to live healthier lives, with lower body weights, improved metabolism and glucose tolerance, and increased physical activity. And all that without any tissue damage or toxicity.

“If we give it to aged mice, they rejuvenate. If we give it to young mice, they age slower. No other therapy right now can do this, " said Corina Amor Vegas, Assistant Prof at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in the USA and one of the authors of the paper.

The researchers are calling this treatment the ‘living drug’. That’s because, when genetically modified, the CAR T cells actively attack a group of cells known as ‘senescent cells’.

Senescent cells are responsible for many of the conditions and diseases we get as we grow old, such as obesity and diabetes. We accumulate more and more of them as the years go by - but this builds up harmful inflammation. The CAR T cells, however, could remove them and therefore slow the impacts of ageing.

The treatment has already been approved in the USA to tackle blood cancer. However, this is the first time scientists have shown that CAR T cells can also slow - and even reduce - the effects of ageing.

While there are already drugs that can eliminate senescent cells, these have to be taken repeatedly. The effects of CAR T cells, on the other hand, are long-lasting - one dose at a young age protects you for life.

"With CAR T cells, you have the potential of getting this one treatment, and then that’s it,” said Amor Vegas. “For chronic pathologies, that’s a huge advantage. Think about patients who need treatment multiple times per day versus you get an infusion, and then you’re good to go for multiple years.”

Next, the scientists will investigate whether the cells not only make the rest of your life healthier - but also whether they could help you live longer.

Return to Home

Switch to full site >>
Copyright © 2024 DEA, Inc. All rights reserved.