The ageing population is one of the greatest challenges facing society. More people are surviving to old age than ever before, but we currently lack the means to keep them healthy and independent. If a treatment existed to reduce sickness and death from ageing by 20% then between now and 2050, the US alone would save US$4 trillion on healthcare costs – enough money to give everyone on Earth clean drinking water for the next three decades.
However a landmark new study, published in Nature, raises hopes that such a treatment will be possible. The researchers managed to increase the lifespan of mice by an impressive 25% by deleting “senescent” cells, dysfunctional cells which build up as we age and cause damage to tissue. Crucially, the mice lived longer because they were healthier.
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