Researchers have of late investigated the role of Janus kinases in the processes of chronic inflammation, with an eye towards intervening to reduce inflammation levels. Chronic inflammation grows with aging due to a variety of underlying causes, such as immune system dysfunction and the presence of senescent cells, but is also generated by with poor lifestyle choices such as smoking or being overweight. Inflammation contributes to the development of many common age-related conditions, ranging from dementia to sarcopenia to cardiovascular conditions. Thus methods of safely and greatly reducing chronic inflammation should prove helpful when it comes to improving the health of older people:
Chronic inflammation, closely associated with frailty and age-related diseases, is a hallmark of aging. Researchers found that Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, drugs that work to block activity of JAK enzymes, decreased the factors released by human senescent cells in culture dishes. Senescent cells are cells that contribute to frailty and diseases associated with aging. Also, these same JAK inhibitors reduced inflammatory mediators in mice. Researchers examined aged mice, equivalent to 90-year-old people, before and after JAK inhibitors. Over the course of two months, the researchers found substantial improvement in the physical function of the aged mice, including grip strength, endurance and physical activity.
"One of the things we want to do is find some kind of treatment for frailty other than prescribing better wheelchairs or walkers, or other kinds of things that we are stuck with now that are Band-Aid solutions. Our goal is not necessarily to increase life span, and certainly not life span at all costs. Our goal is to enhance health span - the period during life when people are independent. This drug approach and others we are developing look like they might hold some promise in reaching that goal."