Researchers have stumbled upon a novel molecule, CUDC-907, that can specifically eradicate senescent or aging, dysfunctional cells without harming healthy ones. This discovery holds potential in slowing down tissue aging and enhancing both quality of life and longevity. This molecule, which has shown encouraging results in vitro and is under investigation for its anti-cancer properties, will soon undergo testing in animal models.
The joint research team from the UOC and the University of Leicester has discovered a molecule that can effectively purge senescent cells, often left behind after cancer treatments.
As time advances, cellular function deteriorates, resulting in an accumulation of cells and consequent tissue aging. The combined efforts of researchers from the UOC and the University of Leicester have led to the discovery of a unique molecule capable of removing these aged cells without harming healthy ones.
This breakthrough provides possibilities for potentially postponing tissue aging and enhancing life quality and expectancy. For now, these findings, published openly in the Aging journal, have been observed in vitro. Animal model testing is the next step.
Throughout life, cells endure various stresses, including solar radiation, causing mutation build-ups. At a certain point, the body triggers defense mechanisms to prevent tumor formation: the cell either undergoes apoptosis, a self-destruction process, or it turns senescent, a “zombie” state where it ceases to function yet remains alive and induces similar states in surrounding healthy cells.
While in youth, the immune system can purge these cells, maintaining clean tissues. However, with aging, this cleanup operation falters, leading to the buildup of these zombie cells that impair tissue function and accelerate aging.
Animal studies have shown that administering senolytic drugs that eradicate these aged cells can enhance animals’ lifespan and life quality.
The research team, led by Professor Salvador Macip, dean of the UOC’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Leicester, have identified the CUDC-907 molecule that specifically and efficiently destroys aged cells with minimal impact on healthy cells.
“The drug we’ve identified has potent senescent cell eliminating properties, and its potential anti-cancer effects are also being studied, offering a dual advantage: anti-cancer and anti-aging,” said Macip.
In the context of cancer, this drug blocks two cell communication pathways, one of which was recently discovered by Macip’s team. It is being researched to purge cells heavily damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy that become senescent and may trigger cancer recurrence. “This drug could be administered alongside chemotherapy or radiotherapy to eliminate these zombie cells, significantly reducing cancer relapses,” Macip suggested.
In the study, different human cancer cell models were used, and they found that CUDC-907 effectively removes a specific type of senescent cell with minimal side effects. The next step involves animal model testing, and with positive results, human trials would follow. Researchers propose that the drug could also be applied to diseases where senescent cell accumulation is involved, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“A high dose of the drug could potentially cleanse the brain and halt disease progression. It could also prove beneficial in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, slowing its progression, rather than the aging itself,” added Macip.
Reference: “Characterization of the HDAC/PI3K inhibitor CUDC-907 as a novel senolytic” by Fares Al-Mansour, Abdullah Alraddadi, Buwei He, Anes Saleh, Marta Poblocka, Wael Alzahrani, Shaun Cowley and Salvador Macip, 28 March 2023, Aging.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about CUDC-907 discovery
What is CUDC-907 and what does it do?
CUDC-907 is a newly discovered molecule that has shown promising results in selectively eliminating senescent or aging cells without harming healthy ones. It has the potential to delay tissue aging and improve quality of life and longevity.
How does CUDC-907 affect cancer treatment?
CUDC-907 is being investigated for its anti-cancer effects. It inhibits certain cell communication pathways, including one that was previously unknown. By targeting and eliminating senescent cells that can contribute to cancer relapse, CUDC-907 may help reduce cancer recurrence rates when used alongside chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
What are senescent cells and why are they important?
Senescent cells are aging or non-functional cells that accumulate in the body over time. They no longer function properly but remain alive, and they can influence the surrounding healthy cells to adopt a similar senescent state. Their accumulation can impair tissue function and accelerate the aging process.
Are there any side effects associated with CUDC-907?
CUDC-907 has shown limited side effects on healthy cells in the research conducted so far. However, further testing is needed to fully understand its safety profile and potential side effects in animal models and humans.
Can CUDC-907 be used in other conditions besides cancer?
The researchers suggest that CUDC-907 may have applications in diseases where the accumulation of senescent cells plays a role, such as Alzheimer’s disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, more research is required to determine its effectiveness in these conditions.
More about CUDC-907 discovery
- Aging Journal: Characterization of the HDAC/PI3K inhibitor CUDC-907 as a novel senolytic
- UOC (Open University of Catalonia): UOC Official Website
- University of Leicester: University of Leicester Official Website
- National Institute on Aging: Senescent Cells and Aging
- Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer’s Disease Information