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Researchers may have discovered"fountain of youth" drugs

Researchers may have found the key to a long, healthy life

NBC-- Doctors at the Mayo Clinic think they may be close to finding a "magic elixir" that could keep us youthful in old age.

Dr. James Kirkland works at the Mayo Clinic's Kogod Center on Aging. He says he would like to see people live to 90 or 100 years old, but feel like they are only 50 or 60.

Dr. Kirkland and his team are targeting specific cells in our bodies called "senescent cells." Everyone hasa them and they are at the center of chronic diseases, like cancers, dementias, diabetes, and cardiac diseases.

Dr. Kirkland says these cells accumulate with increasing age and are also present at the sites of major chronic diseases.

Researchers started thinking about ways to safely eliminate the dysfunctional cells and they started developing senolytic drugs.

Dr. Kirkland's team tested mice and found that these drugs allowed the senescent cells to "self-destruct" without damaging other healthy cells.

Basically, older mice looked younger and became healthier.

The team says the onset of all age related diseases and frailty were delayed after they administered the medication.

The drugs are now being tested in human clinical trials. If everything goes well, it could be a life-changing breakthrough.

Dr. Kirkland says "We want to figure out a way where we can go at the root cause of all of these conditions and try to delay them as a group so that the period of health span, that is the period of people's lives when they're independent, living at home, free of pain, free of disability, can be extended."

Right now, there is no "magic pill" to keep you forever young, but plenty of exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are your best bets for aging well.

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