HIV drug dampens inflammation in older mice

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By Alice Tuohy | Wednesday 06 February 2019

Nature: L1 drives IFN in senescent cells and promotes age-associated inflammation

An international team of researchers have found that a HIV drug can reduce age-associated inflammation in older mice. The research findings have been published today (Wednesday 6 February) in the scientific journal, Nature.

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research, at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Although dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, getting older does increase our dementia risk. Understanding how the ageing process makes us more susceptible to dementia remains a key area of research and could provide insights for developing new treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

“In this study, the ageing of cells that happens as we get older was found to trigger higher levels of inflammation. While inflammation is thought to play an important role in the development of diseases that cause dementia this study didn’t directly explore whether their findings are relevant to these diseases.

“This is interesting and elegant early-stage research on age-associated inflammation, but we are a long way from being able to tell whether the HIV drug used in this study could be of any use in helping treat diseases like Alzheimer’s.

“Better understanding of how harmful inflammation gets underway in the brain is key for developing drugs that could tackle this process in Alzheimer’s. Inflammation in one of the key targets being explored by the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance, a unique initiative that is working to radically speed up the hunt for effective dementia treatments.”

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Alice Tuohy