Cell senescence means a state where cells stop further development in their function but clean themselves and remove the extra substance. Scientists found that when cells go into this stage, the growth rate of tumor would slow down, which is true of aging. The finding was made on the level of molecular studies.
Cells are controlled by mTOR, the abbreviation of mechanistic target of rapamycin, giving instructions to cells on their dividing and growing directions, which plays an important role in the whole development of a cell. Cells will move into next stage of senescence when the mTOR pathway decreases. In this stage, cells concentrate on clearing off the waste inside and stop the growing process as mentioned. It’s at this stage that scientists found the growth of tumor and aging speed slowed down.
Till now the mechanism of mTOR process still remains unclear to the scientists. More studies are needed to find them out. But it’s quite certain that senescent cells are connected to tumor. In the studies that were carried out in both mice and cell cultures with the application of a bacteria produced inhibitor rapamycin which prevent proteins from formation to control the variable factors, two reasons for the performance of senescent cells on aging and cancer have been found.
First, it was found in the studies that, with the increase of aging, there would be less senescent cells in the body as the environment of immune system was with the ability to make them out of the body. Directly, the tissue will age at a faster speed.
Next importantly, the cells in senescence state devour proteins that play a contributing factor for the inflammation and malignancy of tumor. Thus from at least one aspect the senescent cells can reduce the growth rate of tumor and slowdown aging process.
From the study it can be concluded that by increasing the number of senescent cells, the cancer situation will deteriorate at a slower speed, as well as the aging process. Thus drugs aiming to reduce the mTOR pathway or related substance which can decrease the mTOR pathway can be very helpful to achieve the slow-aging and cancer development control.
It’s a potential direction for new drugs of cancer treatment and aging related diseases as soon as more mechanism about this biochemical activity is identified.