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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Mayo Clinic researchers may have identified a therapy to ease the ravages of aging.

A new study published in eBioMedicine found that senolytic drugs developed at the Mayo Clinic can "boost a key protein in the body that may protect older people against aspects of aging and a range of diseases." The beneficial effects of the drugs were demonstrated in both mice and human studies.

"We show that there is an avenue for an orally active, small-molecule approach to increase this beneficial protein and also to amplify the action of senolytic drugs," says James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic internist and senior author of the study.

According to the Mayo Clinic, senolytics clear a person's bloodstream of so-called "zombie" cells, which studies have shown to contribute to multiple diseases and negative aspects of aging. The researchers found removing those harmful cells boosted the body's production of a-klotho. It is described as a protein important to maintaining good health and the body's production of it tends to decrease as we age. The decrease is especially notable in people who develop Alzheimer's, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Shocked frustrated senior man taking off glasses looking at laptop
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The news release on the study indicates finding ways to boost a-klotho in humans has been a major research goal. Getting the protein into the body is described as problematic because of its size and instability, which would require infusion into a vein. Senolytics, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to be administered orally.

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