Chronic, unresolved inflammation is a feature of aging, and an important contributing cause of many age-related conditions. It is an inappropriate and damaging overactivation of the immune system, provoked by senescent cell signaling and various other forms of cell and tissue damage characteristic of aging. Why not just work to consistently suppress inflammation, then? The answer is that short-term inflammation is very important to health. It is needed in wound healing, destruction of potentially cancerous cells, and to fight off pathogens, and all of that remains true even in patients suffering from chronic inflammation throughout the body. Existing immunosuppressant therapies, such as the biologic drugs deployed to treat autoimmune conditions, have unpleasant long-term effects and make patients more vulnerable precisely because they have broad suppressive effects on the operation of the immune system.
Is it possible to be more selective, and only suppress the unwanted inflammatory signaling? In principle, yes. In practice, the immune system and its signaling is enormously complicated. That complexity is further quite different from tissue to tissue and situation to situation. Making inroads towards better immune suppression, more narrowly focused, with fewer side-effects, is very labor intensive. There are only
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