|Controlled release of nanoparticles in senescent cells using the new nanodevice. Source: CSIC.|
A team of Spanish scientists has developed a smart device made up of nanoparticles that can selectively release drugs in aging human cells.
The nanoparticles of this device have only selectively open cells in degenerative phase or senescent cells.
Senescence is a physiological process that allows the elimination of aging cells with alterations that may compromise their viability. In young organisms, the mechanisms of senescence prevent the appearance of tumors, but with aging, senescent cells accumulate in organs and tissues, affecting their normal functioning.
The elimination of these cells could slow down the appearance of diseases associated with aging such as cancer, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
For the research, the new nanodevices were used in primary cultures derived from patients with dyskeratosis congenita (CD), an accelerated aging syndrome. Cells from these cultures show high levels of beta-galactosidase activity, an enzyme characteristic of the senescent state.
Nanoparticles open when they detect the overexpression of this enzyme, and release their content to eliminate senescent cells, prevent deterioration or even reactivate for rejuvenation.