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Biohacking : Senolytic Therapies

Our bodies are amazingly efficient at recycling cellular components. Sometimes things go awry and compromised cells sneak passed the usual apoptosis process (cellular die off). These older damaged cells that survive tend to cause chaos by secreting toxins (SASP) which result in inflammation, blocking cellular processes, encouraging neighboring cells to break down and have been associatd with age related diseases. The life extension community has been very excited about senolytics which is the science of targeting and destroying the the older damaged senescencent cells. There are some compounds showing promise as senotherapueutic drugs as well as startups jumping into this space to increase healthspan.

Compounds


Quercetin might just be the least expensive, most accessible and safest compound to reduce senescent cells. It is flavonoid from the family of polyphenols which in bulk will cost around ~$0.10 a day to take 1g of quercetin. Several studies have been looking at human and mouse responses to quercetin on it’s own or in combination with a leukemia drug dasatinib.

Fisetin has also been shown to have pronounced senolytic properties. This naturally occurring flavonoid is much like quercetin in that it is also a polyphenol and can easily be sourced. When comparing different compounds this one stood out as being the most senolytic active of them all. A human would need to take quantities of nearly 3g a day which is roughly 12.3x the amount used in the mouse study. There actually was a biochemist / biohacker that tried this and he did note that his skin was noticeably softer and smoother. It should be noted that curcumin also did a particularly good job of destroying senescent cells.

The Startups


A 90 person biotech company called Unity has been valued at over $700m. It started it’s first drug trial in June 2018 with a treatment for osteoarthritis in the knee area.  While Unity has the biggest backers including Jeff Bezos of Amazon they are not alone. There is also Senolytic Therapeutics in Spain, Cleara Biotech in the Netherlands, CellAge which hails from Scotland and is crowdfunding and finally Seattle based Oisin which is trying to killoff  zombie cells based on high accumulation of a particular protein (p16).

Studies


  • Senolytic drugs reverse damage caused by senescent cells in mice – 2018, NIH, Nature
    • https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/senolytic-drugs-reverse-damage-caused-senescent-cells-mice
  • Senolytics improve physical function and increase lifespan in old age – 2018 Nature
    • https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-018-0092-
  • Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan. 2018, EBioMedicine
    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30279143


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