Senolytic Therapy for Alzheimer's? "STOP IT IN ITS TRACKS

October 14, 2019

References: Aging Cell, Forbes MagazineDiabetes,

It's getting close to Halloween. Zombies are in everyone's yards. And zombie cells are in you. You have heard about senescence in this column. It happens to good healthy cells that are "quiescent" (waiting and responsive, able to duplicate) when they tip into "senescence". A senescent cell is a zombie. It is hanging around but unable to be constructive and helpful. Actually, it is harmful because they ooze inflammatory substances and infect their neighbors. But they don't go away. Aging is all about accumulating more and more senescent cells in all your organs. And we see that in the blood tests with an inexorable decline in circulating stem cells. We have talked about getting rid of senescent cells with various combinations of supplements on your own, or with Mayo Clinic's protocol of Dasatinib (a leukemia drug) and quercetin, a well-known supplement derived from onions and apples. 

It's the accumulation of tau proteins in the brain that appears to be the tipping point in Alzheimer's, and possibly up to 20 other brain disease. Tau proteins are the stabilizing scaffolding of axons, the wires that connect brain cells. If they get misfolded and disorganized, it's as though your scaffolding on your new building suddenly collapsed. This paper from the University of Texas shows that a link exists between senescent cells and the accumulation of tau proteins. This means you have senescent cells, zombies, in your brain with broken scaffolding that you can't clear out. It's not just that the tau proteins are in the way but the zombie cells won't go away. No matter how many "Trick or Treats" you give them, they just keep infecting the cells around them. No wonder you can't think straight! What if......what if you could clear out those zombies? Well, you can. 

You can clear senescent cells from mouse brains that are genetically altered to look like human Alzheimer's. The "senolytic" treatment given the mice was the same used at Mayo, Dasatinib and Quercetin, once every two weeks over 12 weeks. They then did MRI's on the mouse's brains and looked at them under a microscope. 
One of the authors was so enthusiastic about their outcome that he was quoted as saying in Forbes, "It stopped Alzheimer's in its tracks!" That's pretty intense. Did it cause the mice any harm? Nope. Not that they could detect. Will this work in humans? Who knows! If you had early-onset Alzheimer's, Parkinson's.....would you try it?

WWW: What will work for me. This is another classic example of the "ethics" of modern medicine. Is it ethical to take a scientific advance found in mice to you when you are descending into an irreversible disease? If it doesn't cause harm, that you know of, does that make it easier? Or, do you care if it causes harm? Should this be a therapy used by everyone over 40, as 50% of us are going to get Alzheimer's someday if we live long enough?

Pop Quiz

  1. It's Halloween in your brain, what is happening to the zombie cells in your brain? Answer: They are becoming "senescent"
  2. What does senescent mean? Answer: Those cells can't duplicate anymore but more importantly, they put out inflammatory cytokines that inflame and damage cells around them into becoming senescent.
  3. What appears to be the cardinal marker of ongoing senescence in brain cells? 
    Answer: The accumulation of tau proteins.
  4. n mice, what can you do to clear out those senescent cells? Answer: Dasatinib (chemotherapy drug) and Quercetin, dosed 6 times over 12 weeks.
  5. What else can you do to reverse that senescence? Answer: Walk two miles every day of the world. A bit of sweat is better. Fast mimicking diet if not outright fasting on a routine basis. Growth hormone might also be a secret path.