Japanese scientists developed a vaccine that targets so-called “zombie cells”, which accumulate over time and cause damage to healthy cells. This cell is believed to be the cause of a number of diseases, including heart disease.
The research, published on Friday in the online version of the Nature Aging journal, found a reduction in the number of zombie cells – clinically known as senescent cells – in mice that were administered the vaccine. It was also observed in those areas that had been affected by stiffening the arteries.
They are also known by the name “zombie cell” because they do not die but stop growing like regular cells. They start out as normal cells, but after experiencing a stress event – such as sustaining damage to their DNA or becoming infected with a virus – they enter a state of suspended animation rather than dying.
They can cause inflammation by damaging healthy cells around them as they build up. Over time, they facilitate the aging process and set the stage for a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, enlargement of the heart, kidney problems, clogged arteries, and age-related loss of muscle.
Recent studies using mice have shown that senolytics, which are drugs that destroy zombie cells, can be used in a variety of trials. The Japanese researchers, who included scientists from several universities around the country, discovered a protein in the senescent cells of mice and humans. They then created a vaccine using an amino acid.
The body can create antibodies using a peptide-based vaccine. These antibodies can attach to senescent cell senescence cells and can be then removed by white blood cells adhering to the antibodies. Tohru Minamino is the study author. The vaccine could be administered in a single dose. “applied to the treatment of arterial stiffening, diabetes and other aging-related diseases.”
The vaccine was administered to mice suffering from clogged arteries. They found that the virus caused a decrease in the amount of senescent cells, and the area affected by the disease shrinked. According to the team, older mice would be able to slow down their age-related weakness process better than those who were not vaccinated.
According to research, there were also fewer side effects from the vaccine. It has a longer lasting effectiveness period than other senolytics.