This innovative medicine may one day help treat or prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by restoring cells’ vitality to damaged regions.
Because of gains in health and technology, life expectancy has improved globally, but aging-related improvements in standard of living have trailed far behind. Increasing life expectancy without a decline in health is one of the main challenges facing medicine. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) Faculty of Medicine’s Professors Einav Gross and Shmuel Ben-Sasson have just published a study that has identified a collection of chemicals that enable cells to repair damaged components, enabling those tissues to maintain correct function.
The compounds’ effectiveness was demonstrated using a model organism. The research team examined the effects of various therapies on lifespan and quality of life, and they were able to convincingly show that they can shield both living things and human cells from harm. The journal Autophagy reported their findings.
Currently, a major factor in the aging of tissues is the reduced effectiveness of the cell’s quality-control mechanism, which leads to the buildup of defective mitochondria.
Mitochondria, the cell’s “power plants,” are in charge of producing energy, according to Gross. They are comparable to tiny electric batteries that support healthy cell operation. Our cells have a clever process that eliminates damaged mitochondria and replaces them with new ones, despite the fact that these “batteries” are constantly degrading.
However, as people age, this system weakens, resulting in cell malfunction and a loss in tissue activity.
Many age-related disorders, including the rapidly increasing sarcopenia, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, are rooted in this degenerative process. Since the new method that Gross and Ben-Sasson developed at Hebrew University assisted in the creation of inventive compounds to treat diseases that are currently incurable, their study may have extensive practical implications. The study also shown the potential for preventative usage of these compounds.
In the future, Ben-Sasson said, “We hope we will be able to greatly postpone the onset of many age-related disorders and enhance people’s quality of life.” Additionally, these substances are simple to utilize and ingest.
The study team founded Vitalunga, a startup that is now developing this medicine, in collaboration with Yissum, Hebrew University’s tech transfer company, to advance their significant research and translate it into medical treatment for a range of illnesses.
Itzik Goldwaser, CEO of Yissum, stated that “Ben-Sasson and Gross’s discoveries have enormous relevance for the global aging population.” The stress that age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s place on people, their families, and our healthcare systems is awful, but as Vitalunga moves closer to pre-clinical research, they are closer than ever to reducing it.