Senolytics refer to a particular class of drugs that attack cells which have already entered senescence i.e. they have grown old to a stage that considers them toxic to the surrounding cells.
These drugs aim at attacking the harmful cells partially and in doing so, prevent the development of certain age-related diseases. This can also occur so as to reduce their impact.
In addition to this, the cell senescence can also sometimes lead to conditions like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic condition in which the lung tissues get progressively scarred. This can even lead to death.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two drugs for the treatment of this condition. These drugs include pirfenidone and nintedanib. However, even with these drugs, the prognosis of people remain unsatisfactory. Researchers have also noted that the survival rate for people suffering from IPF is around 3 to 5 years.
According to experts, IPF is a devastating condition. It is progressive fibrotic disease of the lung whose median survival rate is even less than 5 years. This is particularly true for adults who are usually above the age of 60 years.
In light of these statistics, it is the need of the hour to come up with better and safer options of treatment for people suffering from IPF.
Due to this reason, different experts joined hands with one another to test two additional drugs that they thought were potential treatments for IPF. These drugs included quercetin and dasatinib. Note that both of these drugs are FDA-approved but for a disease other than IPF.
This was the first time the scientists tested two medicines in human participants suffering from IPF. The results of this study can be found in a journal named EBioMedicine.
Testing the Promising Drug Combination
As a part of this trial, the research team involved 14 participants. Each of these participants had moderate IPF. They took both the medicines orally for 3 consecutive days a week. This continued for three weeks in a row.
This was followed by clinical tests performed by the scientists both at the baseline as well as the end of the study. The participants were asked to fill the questionnaires in order to assess their symptoms every week.
The scientists also assessed the physical functioning of the participants in addition to checking the tolerability and safety of the two drugs in use.
The scientist found that the drugs improved the mobility of the participants which is usually compromised in people suffering from this condition. A lot of participants experienced over 5 percent improvement in the markers of mobility.
The scientists have said how no study has attempted to do what they did. Their study was pilot research in which the participants experienced a significant increase int heir 6-minute walk distance up to 21.5 meters.
However, the scientists also acknowledge that their study was small scale with no placebo control group and advised others to be cautious. At the same time, he has warranted future studies with a larger set of individuals and control groups.