About this Event
About the Keynote
Guest speaker James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Kirkland is the Director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and the Noaber Foundation Professor of Aging Research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Dr. Kirkland’s research focuses on the impact of cellular aging (senescence) on age-related dysfunction and chronic diseases. Senescent cells accumulate with aging and in chronic diseases such as dementia, cancers, diabetes, and arthritis. Dr. Kirkland's team developed the idea that removing senescent cells may extend health span partly based on the observation that mice with mutations that increase lifespan have a lower senescent cell burden than normal mice, and that short-lived mice have more of these cells. To test this idea, Kirkland and his team, in collaboration with others at Mayo Clinic, eliminated senescent cells from genetically modified mice. They found that this process enhanced health span, at least in the context of an accelerated aging-like disease, giving proof of principle for the notion that clearing senescent cells with a drug in non-genetically-modified individuals might be beneficial.
Kirkland’s team is using its findings to develop senolytic interventions that delay the onset of aging and alleviate or partially reverse age-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancers and arthritis among others. “We predict many more senolytic drugs will appear at an accelerating pace over the next few years and that these drugs will be improved to more effectively target senescent cells. These three drugs, if effective in clinical trials, could be transformative,” said Kirkland of three new senolytic agents his team uncovered in March 2017.
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