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Anti-ageing drugs prevent radiotherapy impact

Wednesday May 25th 2022

The long-term impact of radiation therapy for cancer could be limited with a class of drugs called senolytics, researchers say.

In a new study, Dr Satomi Miwa at Newcastle University, UK, and colleagues examined whether cancer therapy-induced senescence, or ageing, is the cause of this negative impact.

in *eLife*, they write: "Cancer survivors suffer from progressive frailty, multimorbidity and premature morbidity."

Their study looked at the potential benefits of senolytic drugs which induce death in ageing cells, including metformin, for mice exposed to radiation.

The mice were irradiated and treated with either the senolytic drug Navitoclax, or dasatinib plus quercetin, for ten days or with metformin for ten weeks.

After a year, tests showed that mice which received treatment one month after irradiation showed significantly slower progression of frailty, improved muscle function and liver function, and improved short-term memory.

the effect continued "until advanced age" without repeated treatment, the authors report.

When the senolytic drugs started late, once radiation-induced frailty was already seen, the drugs still showed a benefit.

"Metformin was similarly effective as senolytics," the authors write. "At therapeutically achievable concentrations metformin acted as a senostatic.

"Our study suggests that the progression of adverse long-term health and quality-of-life effects of radiation exposure, as experienced by cancer survivors, might be rescued by short-term adjuvant anti-senescence interventions."

Dr Miwa said: “Increasing number of people are now successfully treated from cancer, and the survival rates from many cancer types are high. The people who had beaten cancers can start looking forward to their new lives again - but only if the quality of life is not going to be affected. Sadly, this is the case for the moment.

"However, our new research shows that there is a way to prevent any long-term side effects occurring, and to reduce risks of cancer relapse.”

Fielder, E. et al. Short senolytic or senostatic interventions rescue progression of radiation-induced frailty and premature ageing in mice. *eLife* 4 May 2022 doi: 10.7554/eLife.75492


Tags: Cancer | Elderly Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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