People are always looking for eternal youth. This longing is revealed in the oldest legends. Science has the same interest. That is why they developed the process to eliminate aging cells.
Immune cells already do this naturally. They remove stale or aging cells that contribute to aging and disease. They are known as invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTs). They act as a surveillance system, killing cells that the body perceives as foreign, including old cells that have irreparable DNA damage.
However, INKT cells become less active with age. Obesity also plays a role. How can this natural monitoring system be stimulated? This would be an alternative to senolytic therapies, the main method for removing old cells.
INKT cells have two attributes. And they make them a particularly attractive drug target. At least that’s what scientists from the University of California at San Francisco say.
First, they all have the same receptor, which is not found in any other cell in the body. They can be stimulated without activating other types of immune cells. Second, they return to a dormant state after a period of activity.
“Using an iNKT-targeted therapy can take advantage of the exquisite built-in specificity.” The statement comes from Dr. Anil Bhushan, the main author of the article. He found that he could kill aging cells with lipid antigens. Thus it would activate iNKT cells.
Experiments with teenagers
They treated obese mice. And his blood sugar level improved. The pulmonary fibrosis mice had fewer damaged cells and lived longer. “It is a potential immunotherapy for old age and fibrosis,” admitted Mallar Bhattacharya. He is another author of the article. He also found that it was a fairly well-tolerated therapy and that only the dose had to be determined and the experiments continued.
Will the process of getting rid of aging cells make us younger? Only time will tell … obviously.