One extremely promising and emerging field of research is nano-biotechnology. Nano-biotechnology could potentially be an extremely powerful tool in our quest for a longer, healthier life.

Senescent cells are known to be essential in multiple aging processes. Getting rid of these problem cells is, therefore, something we could do to potentially increase our healthy lifespan, and nanoscale robots may help us do just this.

Detecting senescent cells

Senescent cells have different levels of gene expression and mitochondrial function, different epigenetics, and a different secretome profile. Therefore, they secrete specific molecules in specific quantities [1], and this is very important for detecting and targeting them.

The detection and targeting of these senescent cells is somewhat difficult and currently not very precise [1]. This is due to there being different types of senescent cells, including a non-chronic (non-damaging) type as well as changes in senescent cells that also occur in healthy cells. Currently, the most common way to detect senescent cells is by measuring SA-beta-gal activity. SA-beta-gal is an isoform of the beta-galactosidase enzyme (an enzyme normally responsible for the breakdown of sugars known as beta-galactosides). This isoform is widely expressed by senescent cells and is optimally active at pH 6.0, thus making it possible to detect these cells by assaying them for the presence of SA-beta-gal. However, this has major limitations, as SA-beta-gal can be expressed in non-senescent cells under certain conditions and is absent in some senescent cells [2]. Other markers for senescence, such as lipofuscin (pigment granules), have been used, but they also have limitations, such as not being exclusive to senescent cells. Regardless of the limitations, SA-beta-gal is a good marker for senescence until better markers are discovered. Once detected, we have to get to these cells, bind to them specifically, and kill them.

Read more at leafscience.org

Image Credit:   Shutterstock

News This Week

Innovations in Nanocomposites: A Future Outlook

Nanocomposites are a class of nanomaterials, where one or more nanostructured materials (organic/inorganic) are incorporated in metal, polymer, or ceramic to obtain a new material with many unique properties. Nanocomposites are applied in various [...]

New sensor detects ever smaller nanoparticles

Conventional microscopes produce enlarged images of small structures or objects with the help of light. Nanoparticles, however, are so small that they hardly absorb or scatter light and, hence, remain invisible. Optical resonators increase [...]

How Will the COVID Pills Change the Pandemic?

From a new article By Dhruv Khullar in the New York Times: New antiviral drugs are startlingly effective against the coronavirus—if they’re taken in time. n March, 2020, researchers at Emory University published a paper about a [...]

3D printing approaches atomic dimensions

 A new 3D printing technology makes the production of complex metallic objects at the nanoscale possible. A team of chemists led by a scientist from the University of Oldenburg has developed an electrochemical technique [...]