Researchers have found a new group of drugs may prevent or delay a number of chronic conditions which kill millions globally each year.
A study by the Mayo Clicic showed that senolytic drugs had an anti-ageing effect which could help ward off cancer, among other deadly illnesses.
The drugs were discovered to support healthy ageing in animals.
Study authors believe that, if they are proven to be effective and safe in humans, they could stop a whole host of chronic conditions developing in one go.
The drugs target senescent cells - or cells which have stopped dividing and secrete toxic chemicals that damage adjacent cells.
Accumulation of these cells tends to happen with age.
The build-up is also associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, most cancers, dementia, arthritis, osteopetrosis, and frailty.
In previous research it was found senolytic drugs could clear senescent cells while leaving normal cells unaffected.
"We've moved rapidly in the last few years, and it's increasingly looking like senolytic drugs, including the recently discovered HSP90 inhibitors, are having an impact on a huge range of diseases," said Dr James Kirkland, director of the Kogod Centre on Ageing.
"We will need to continue to test whether there are more optimal drugs or drug combinations to broaden the range of senescent cell types targeted."
Researchers will next test the drugs in human clinical trials.
"The emerging repertoire of senolytic drugs shows that they are having an impact on a huge range of diseases," says Dr Kirkland.
"Our goal is to achieve the same success in humans as we have in preclinical animal models in efforts to prevent or delay the conditions associated with ageing."
If the drugs are found to work in humans, they could save millions of lives.
Cancer currently kills roughly 7.6 million people a year - or 20,000 a day.
In the UK, heart disease is the number one killer.
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