Jesus Gil Comments on Senescence Finding

 3 November 2011   uncategorised

774Link to BBC story

CSC Cell Proliferation Group Head Jesus Gil was recently asked to comment on a study investigating whether we can stop the signs of ageing. His comments appear in a report by BBC Health reporter James Gallagher

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in the USA have announced results apparently showing that killing senescent cells [cells that have stopped replicating having done so more than the ‘natural limit’ of about 50 times] can slow the signs of ageing. From Gallagher’s report:

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic, in the US, devised a way to kill all senescent cells in genetically engineered mice.

The animals would age far more quickly than normal, and when they were given a drug, the senescent cells would die.

The researchers looked at three symptoms of old age: formation of cataracts in the eye; the wasting away of muscle tissue; and the loss of fat deposits under the skin, which keep it smooth.

Researchers said the onset of these symptoms was “dramatically delayed” when the animals were treated with the drug.

The study raises the tantalising prospect of slowing the signs of ageing in humans. However, senescent cells cannot be just flushed out of human beings.

Dr Jesus Gil, from the Medical Research Council’s clinical science centre, said the findings needed to be “taken with a bit of caution. It is a preliminary study”.

However, he said it was a fascinating study which “suggests if you get rid of senescent cells you can improve phenotypes [physical traits] associated with ageing and improve quality of life in aged humans”.

You can read James Gallagher’s report here:

You can also read more CSC stories on senescence here:

Cholesterol and Cellular Retirement

Senescence Barrier to Stem Cells

Behind the Barrier