Promising New Anti-Aging Vaccine Eliminates Disease-Causing Zombie Cells

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    Japanese researchers claim to have taken a step forward in improving cancer with trials of a vaccine to eliminate so-called zombie cells, known medically as senescent cells, which accumulate with age and damage nearby cells, causing age-related diseases.

    In a new study, published in December in the journal Nature Aging, researchers at Tokyo’s Juntendo University identified a protein specific to these cells, called “non-metastatic melanoma protein B” (GPNMB), which is expressed at high levels in these expired cells. This protein was also detected at elevated levels in patients with atherosclerosis, which is related to senescence.

    After identifying it, and after several experiments with rodents, the scientists developed an experimental peptide vaccine, based on an amino acid that constitutes the protein, which can eliminate them, showing success with the aged cells of the body of the mice, helping to prolong the life of These already reverse some signs of age-related diseases.

    According to the researchers, the vaccine allowed the body to create antibodies that attach to senescent cells, which are killed by white blood cells that attach to the antibodies.

    Furthermore, the vaccine also successfully targeted senescent cells in fat tissue and blood vessels, suggesting that it could have a positive impact on other age-related medical conditions.

    “We can hope that (the vaccine) will be applied to the treatment of arterial stiffness, diabetes and other age-related diseases”, Juntendo professor and study co-author Tohru Minamino told Japan’s Jiji news agency.

    According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), as we age, we begin to accumulate senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped multiplying due to damage or stress, but don’t die when they should. Not even immune cells are immune to this process, and as they become senescent, the immune system gradually loses the ability to kill them.

    As dormant cells begin to accumulate more and more in the body, they release compounds that trigger inflammation and thus damage nearby healthy cells, contributing to the symptoms of aging and accompanying diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

    Many of the existing drugs to eliminate senescent cells are used as anticancer agents and can cause negative side effects. According to the team, the side effects of the new vaccine were fewer and its effectiveness lasted longer.

    Paul Robbins, a biophysicist who is an expert in the field who was not involved in the study, assured the scientific outlet Live Science that the potential advantage of using a vaccine instead of drugs to attack senescent cells is that people could receive the vaccine, for example, at age 50 and prevent the accumulation of senescent cells in the first place.

    Despite encouraging progress, there is still work to be done before this work can translate to humans. The team qualified by ensuring that the GPNMB is probably not the only potential target.

    “Our study has shown the possibility of a new strategy against senescence”, said Minamino. “We speculate that there are many more sinus antigens that are produced by other types of senescent cells. With further research we will be able to offer individualized anti-senescent therapy to patients based on the prevalence of the different types of senescent cells in their body”, he added.

    Resonance Costa Rica

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