Improving Aging


There's a host of things that come with age that I'd like to avoid. One of them is infections. Well, a recent study found that blocking a cellular pathway involved in immune responses can improve the health of people ages sixty-five and up. A cause of aging are changes to signaling pathways that regulate immunity.

One pathway is called mechanistic target of rapamycin or mTOR. Inhibiting this pathway has been shown to prolong the life span of every organism tested so far suggesting it's a powerful age regulator. mTor is a protein kinase that puts phosphate molecules onto other proteins as a way of sending signals into the nucleus of a cell to change what the cell is doing.

These other proteins are called TORC-one and TORC-two. Inhibiting the signaling through TORC-one appears to improve immunity while inhibiting just the TORC-two is detrimental. Fortunately, we already have drugs that inhibit only TORC-one signaling.

The study enrolled over two hundred sixty people over the age of sixty-five. They received either TORC-one or two or both inhibitors or a placebo. After six weeks, they were given the flu vaccine, then measured for the amount of antibodies they made and followed for nine months. They found that the combination of the two drugs was more effective at blocking the TORC-one signaling than either of the drugs alone. The drugs also raised the immune response to the flu vaccine by twenty percent while lowering the rate of infections by forty percent.

The drugs are on the market but they still need to be approved for this. But this appears to be a promising way to protect seniors from infections.

More Information

Two Experimental Drugs Reduce Infections in the Elderly
combination drug therapy that inhibits the TORC1 pathway involved in immune responses boosted the health of people 65 years and older, according to research published in Science Translational Medicine July 11...

TORC1 inhibition enhances immune function and reduces infections in the elderly
Aging may be regulated by a discrete set of intracellular proteins including the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase. mTOR functions within two multiprotein complexes called TORC1 and TORC2. Inhibition of TORC1 has extended life span in every species studied to date and ameliorated multiple aging-related pathologies including declining immune function...

The role of senescent cells in ageing
A deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the multi-step progression of senescence and the development and function of acute versus chronic senescent cells may lead to new therapeutic strategies for age-related pathologies and extend healthy lifespan...