Multiple researchers in the Jackson lab are participating in an ambitious research program spanning several top research institutions to study senescent cells. Senescent cells stop dividing in response to stressors and appear to play a role in human health and aging. Recent studies in mice have shown that clearing senescent cells can delay the onset of age-related dysfunction and disease, as well as all-cause mortality.
Could treatments that remove senescent cells, known as senotherapy, improve human health as we age? Answering this question and many more has the potential to significantly advance human health, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched an extensive research program to this end.
The SenNet Consortium, a collaborative effort of institutions across the United States, initially launched in 2021 and established centers to collect and analyze human data. Researchers will collect and analyze 18 tissues from healthy individuals over a lifetime to discern the full range of senescent cells and how they contribute to the aging process. The work of the SenNet consortium was recently published in a paper published in natural aging.
JAX Professor Paul Robson, Ph.D., with colleagues from Mayo Clinic, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and UConn Health. Currently participating in the mapping of four human tissue types (kidney, adipose, pancreas, and placenta) within the KAPP-Sen Tissue Mapping Center. The Robson lab also leads the Bioanalytical Core, and the Data Analysis Core at KAPP-Sen TMC is led by JAX Associate Professor Duygu Ucar, PhD, and JAX Professor Jeff Chuang, PhD.
SenNet has also grown over the past year with the addition of mouse-focused researchers, JAX was designated as SenNet’s Tissue Mapping Center (TMC) in August 2022, and is supported by a four-year, $10.7 million in funding. JAX-Sen is led by Nadia Rosenthal, Ph.D., professor and Maxine Groffsky Endowed Chair, FMedSci, and co-principal investigators Robson, JAX Associate Professor Dr. Ron Korstanje, and UConn Health’s Ming Xu, Ph.D. Associate Professor Sheng Li and Principal Computational Scientist Matt Mahoney lead the data analytics core of the JAX-Sen TMC.
JAX is poised to make a significant contribution to SenNet by analyzing senescent cells in all tissues associated with diseases of chronic aging in the kidney, placenta, pancreas and heart. The team will use its genetically diverse mouse resources, including the Diversity Outbred mouse population, to model a range of molecular hallmarks of aging, as well as inbred mice specifically designed to help visualize subpopulations of senescent cells.
Since three tissues (kidney, pancreas, and placenta) in mouse JAX-Sen TMCs are shared with human KAPP-Sen TMCs, these efforts fit well with JAX’s continuing institutional initiative to build a human-mouse interface. The goals of SenNet go beyond constructing an in vivo atlas of senescent cells and learning more about the biology of senescent cells. The potential benefits of aging therapies for healthy aging in humans are exciting, as are other possible clinical advances, such as identifying individuals at higher risk for age-related diseases.
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