An international team of professional researchers joined forces to conduct a study that confirmed the targeted removal of senescent cells that collect in vertebrate tissue across the aging process contributes to delaying the onset of pathologies related to aging. The research was led by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Chaekyu Kim. He worked in tandem with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Dr. Ok Hee Jeon. Additional contributors from the University of California, Berkeley, the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, the University Medical Center Groningen and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and Unity Biotechnology, Inc. also played a part in the research. The findings were published this past April in the journal Nature Medicine.
About the Study
The research team presented a new pharmacologic candidate for the alleviation of degenerative joint conditions like osteoarthritis (OA) that are age-related. This occurs through the selective destroying of senescent cells known as “SnCs”. Such cells gather throughout the aging process in the body’s vertebrate tissues. They are located at areas where age-related pathology occurs. Though such cells play an important role in the healing of wounds and repairing injured body sites, they might also lead to the onset of cancer within tissues. As an example, in particular joints like the knees and other cartilage tissues, SnCs are not always cleared from the area following the injury. This leads to the continuation of OA development.
In order to test the notion that SnCs might play a role in OA development, the researchers cut the anterior cruciate ligaments in young and old mice to a mimic a similar injury in human beings. The researchers applied injections of the experimental drug known as UBX0101 to remove SnCs following the anterior cruciate ligament transection surgery.
Preclinical studies in human and mice cells suggest removing SnCs dramatically decreases the development of post-traumatic OA as well as related pain. Removing SnCs also creates a prochondrogenic environment that allows for the growth of new cartilage and joint repair
The findings suggest the selective removal of aged cells from the body’s joints might decrease the development of post-traumatic OA. This selective removal might also allow for the growth of new cartilage and the repairing of joints. Aged mice did not show signs of any cartilage regeneration following the treatment applied through UBX0101 injections. The findings are relevant to human disease through validation with the use of chondrocytes isolated from patients who suffer from arthritis. The findings offer important insights into therapies keying in on the use of SnCs to treat trauma as well as degenerative joint disease related to the aging process.