May 17, 2019

‘Zombie cells’ buildup in your body may play role in aging

By Karl Oestreich

Associated Press
by Malcolm Ritter

Call them zombie cells — they refuse to die. As they build up in your body, studies suggest, they promote aging and the conditions that come with it like osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers are studying drugs that can kill zombie cells and possibly treat the problems they bring. Basically the goal is to fight aging itself, which hopefully will in turn delay the appearance of age-related disease and disabilities as a group, says geriatrics specialist Dr. James Kirkland of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That's in contrast to playing a "whack-a-mole game" of treating one disease only to see another spring up, he said.

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Context: Researchers and collaborators at Mayo Clinic demonstrated that when senescent cells, also known as "zombie cells," are removed from fat tissue in obese mice, the severity of diabetes and a range of its causes or consequences they diminish or disappear. The findings were published in the journal Aging Cell.

“Our findings show that senescent cells are a cause of obesity-related inflammation and metabolic dysfunction, and that senolytic drugs hold promise as a treatment of these conditions and their complications, which include diabetes,” says James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the article. Dr. Kirkland is the director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic. You can read more about the study on Mayo Clinic News Network.

Contact: Bob Nellis

Tags: Associated Press, Dr. James Kirkland, senescent cells, Uncategorized, zombie cells

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