Increase in healthy life expectancy thanks to new molecules -

Live longer with fewer age-related diseases

Today, a group of molecules have been developed to repair damaged cell components, allowing tissues to function, which in turn has far-reaching implications for life expectancy and quality of life.

In a new study led by experts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a family of structurally related compounds were developed and then tested for their ability to induce mitophagy, i.e. the targeted elimination of defective mitochondria and to protect against oxidative stress.

The results were published in the English-language journal Autophagy.

Age-related diseases are increasing

Thanks to constant improvements in medicine and technology, more and more people around the world are living to a ripe old age. The problem, however, is that while life expectancy is increasing, improvements in the quality of life of the elderly population lag far behind, the researchers report.

What is mitophagy?

Longevity combined with declining health is one of modern medicine's greatest challenges. The so-called mitophagy plays an important role here.

Age-related diseases due to impaired mitophagy

Disrupted mitophagy is a major cause of various age-related diseases, the researchers explain. Therefore, increasing mitophagy, the process by which defective mitochondria are removed and then replaced with new ones, is a useful strategy to prevent the development of many morbidities in the elderly population.

Certain molecules protect cells from damage

Researchers are currently studying the effects of various therapies on the life expectancy and quality of life of the C. elegans organism. (a nematode about 1 mm long). Researchers have found that certain compounds (VL-004) can protect cells from the nematode.

VL-004 activity promotes longevity and health in C. elegans, and in addition, VL-004 increases mitophagy and protects against oxidative damage in rodent and human cells, the researchers report.

The newly developed molecules allow cells to repair damaged components, allowing them to maintain their function, the team explains.

Aging tissue accumulates defective mitochondria

The problem with tissue aging is that the decreased efficiency of the cell's quality control mechanisms contributes to an accumulation of defective mitochondria. Mitochondria are sometimes called the powerhouses of the cell and are responsible for producing energy, says study author Professor Einav Gross.

Defective mitochondria are replaced with new ones

According to the doctor, mitochondria could be compared to tiny electric batteries that help cells function properly. Even though mitochondria are constantly wearing out, human cells have a mechanism that eliminates defective mitochondria and replaces them with new ones, explains the expert.

However, as people age, this mechanism decreases. This leads to cell dysfunction and deterioration of tissue activity.

It is precisely this degenerative process that is an important factor in many age-related diseases. These diseases include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart failure and sarcopenia, which are becoming increasingly common, the team explains.

Treatment of truly incurable diseases

The newly developed technology could have far-reaching practical applications in the future, as it will help create innovative compounds to treat diseases so far thought to be incurable, the researchers hope.

Delay disease and improve quality of life

The results of the new study also show that it is possible to use the molecules preventively. "We hope that in the future we will be able to significantly delay the development of many age-related diseases and improve people's quality of life," Ben-Sasson said in a press release.

The expert adds that another advantage of the molecules is their ease of use and that the compounds can be easily taken orally.

The drug is already in development

A start-up called Vitalunga has already been created by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Yissum) research group and technology transfer company and is currently developing a drug based on the molecules.

"Thanks to advances in preclinical studies, Vitalunga is closer than ever to minimizing the unbearable burden that age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease place on sufferers, their families and our lives. health systems,” adds Itzik Goldwaser, CEO of Yissum is travail. (as)

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Vijigisha Srivastava, Veronica Zelmanovich, Virendra Shukla, Rachel Abergel, Irit Cohen, et al. : Distinct designer diamines promote mitophagy and thereby improve the health of C. elegans and protect human cells from oxidative damage; in: Autophagy (published 06/01/2022), AutophagyThe Hebrew University of Jerusalem: A new molecule developed at the Hebrew University could prevent age-related diseases and increase life expectancy and well-being ( published 08/01/2022), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.