Biologists at the University of Leicester have improved anti-aging drugs and tested them in cell cultures in the laboratory. The research is published in Scientific Reports.

In 2015, scientists demonstrated how senolytic drugs can influence the rejuvenation of the body. In a new study, they have improved medicines – their work is more accurate and safer.

With age, our body accumulates a certain number of senescent, “aged” cells, which are no longer functioning as efficiently. This is one of the main causes of aging and decreased performance. Senolytics are substances that just act on senescent cells.

Several studies have shown that senolytic drugs rejuvenate old rodent cells and increase their lifespan. Scientists demonstrated last month how senolytic drugs can remove senescent cells in aging rodent spines and create space for healthy new cells to grow.

“Senolytics are a new class of drugs with great potential to address aging,” explains Dr. Salvador Makip of the University of Leicester, the study’s author. “However, they are all rather non-specific and can lead to severe side effects.” To solve the problem, scientists are developing second-generation drugs – targeted senolytics that should eliminate aging cells without affecting the rest.

In the course of the study, biologists have developed a new compound that contains antibodies and drugs that are toxic to aging cells. It has already been tested in cell cultures in the laboratory.

The study showed promising results: the antibody-drug conjugate acts as a smart bomb, recognizing senescent cells and pumping toxic drugs into them to eliminate them from the equation. The scientists confirmed that the treatment did not affect non-aging cells, which indicates the accuracy and safety of the treatment.

In the future, scientists will conduct research on animals and humans.