Selective destruction of senescent cells in old tissues offers the promise of some degree of rejuvenation, coupled with effective therapies for a range of age-related diseases that currently cannot be controlled. In the past few years, a number of companies have raised venture funding for the development of senolytic therapies, those capable of removing some portion of senescent cells with an acceptable side-effect profile. The potential market is enormous, and thus despite the many potential competitors, any new mechanism by which senescent cells can be destroyed might be the pathway to success and revenue for the individuals and organizations involved in that research. A great deal more attention and funding is being devoted to the biochemistry of senescent cells than was the case even five years ago.
Cellular senescence is also of great interest to cancer researchers. Senescence in response to DNA damage is a way in which our biochemistry removes the riskiest cells from circulation. Senescence irreversibly shuts down the ability to replicate, senescent cells secrete signals to attract the immune system to the vicinity, so that problem cells can be destroyed, and in any case most senescent cells self-destruct shortly after entering this state. This works quite
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