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A Review of Cellular Senescence and Senolytics


Today, we want to point out a new publication that dives into the world of senolytics, which are drugs or therapies that seek and destroy harmful non-dividing cells that resist the programmed cell death known as apoptosis.

These cells linger in the body, and, as we age, more and more of them accumulate and contribute to the chronic age-related inflammation known as “inflammaging” while reducing tissue regeneration and repair and contributing to the development of various age-related diseases.

One approach to dealing with these problem cells is to tip them over the edge and cause them to self-destruct, thus removing them and the inflammation they cause. A new class of drugs known as senolytics was discovered a few years ago, and the interest in developing them to potentially combat age-related diseases has been growing rapidly.


Cellular senescence is a process that results in irreversible cell-cycle arrest and is thought to be an autonomous tumor-suppressor mechanism. During senescence, cells develop distinctive metabolic and signaling features, together referred to as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP is implicated in several aging-related pathologies, including various malignancies. Accumulating evidence argues that cellular senescence acts as a double-edged sword in human cancer, and new agents and innovative strategies to tackle senescent cells are in development pipelines to counter the adverse effects of cellular senescence in the clinic. We focus on recent discoveries in senescence research and SASP biology, and highlight the potential of SASP suppression and senescent cell clearance in advancing precision medicine.

There are already a number of companies poised to enter human trials with these drugs, so keep an eye on our research roadmap, a curated database of the major aging therapies in development, if you would like to keep up with their progress.

The paper in question takes a look at the biochemistry of cellular senescence, one of the hallmarks of aging, and presents information on all the known senolytic compounds, the studies behind them, and their development progress.

Naturally, like 70% of all scientific publications in the world, this important health and medical knowledge is hidden behind a paywall; however, thanks to projects like Sci-Hub, which bypasses such extortionate fees, anyone can read it for free. We also recently interviewed Alexandra Elbakyan, the creator of Sci-Hub, about the problem of science being held for ransom behind paywalls.


This paper is a great primer on the subject of cellular senescence and senolytics, and it should be of interest to both new and long-time readers. We anticipated that senolytics would be the first repair-based therapy to arrive, and given historical timelines for clinical trials and assuming that everything goes according to plan, we may see senolytic therapies being available in the next 4-5 years. That will be a game changer for medicine and how we think about treating age-related diseases.


[1] Sun, Y., Coppé, J. P., & Lam, E. W. F. (2018). Cellular Senescence: The Sought or the Unwanted?. Trends in molecular medicine.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.
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