Experiment is a crowdfunding platform for small scientific projects. It has been running for quite a few years now, one of the few survivors from the first wave of attempts to make crowdfunding platforms to fund scientific research. It is a challenging goal, the motivations and incentives are completely different from those operating in commercial product crowdfunding. SENS Research Foundation is now using Experiment to raise a modest amount of funds for a senotherapeutic screening program. The Foundation does good work, and I donated.
That part of the industry presently seeking approaches to clear senescent cells, or prevent their formation in order to let the immune system catch up on clearance, is still in the comparatively early stages at this point. It is becoming clear that senescent cells have many different states and origins, and react quite differently to given small molecule drugs. There will be many different senotherapeutics at the end of the day, and more targets and options are needed.
As we become old, the number of senescent cells in our body increases, as well as their harmful effects. Approaches aimed at eliminating senescent cells as they accumulate may not be enough since these cells are continuously produced in our body. We reasoned that preventing healthy cells from becoming senescent in the first place may represent a viable option for treating aging. We have developed a cell model that will allow us to identify candidate therapeutics that prevent cells from becoming senescent. Candidate therapies will then be used either alone or in combination with senolytics for comprehensive targeting of senescence, a strategy that is expected to have superior effects at improving health at older age.
As a model to study senescence in a dish, we will use mouse embryonic fibroblasts that we have isolated from the p16 3MR mouse model. These cells express luciferase driven by the promoter of the senescence related gene p16. Therefore, they become luminescent when they are induced into senescence. This assay will allow us to assess relatively quickly the efficacy of therapeutic candidates that inhibit senescence. Using this cellular model, we will screen a large library of FDA approved drugs for their ability to delay senescence. The cells will be forced into senescence, and drugs applied appropriately. We will be able to measure the efficacy of each drug by measuring luminescence.