Dr. Jan Van Deursen was a scientist who revolutionized the way scientists study aging by developing a mouse model of human disease. His research resulted in a groundbreaking discovery: a large population of senescent cells accumulates as people age, failing to die. He used genetic engineering to remove these cells from mice. The next step in his research was to find drug compounds that could do the same thing in people.
Dr. Jan Van Deursen is a scientist at the Mayo Clinic who has dedicated his career to understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of aging. He has made many important discoveries in this field, including identifying the role of senescent cells in aging.
Senescent cells are cells that have stopped dividing but have not died. They accumulate with age and are thought to contribute to age-related frailty and disease. Dr. Van Deursen’s research has shown that removing senescent cells from mice can extend their lifespan and delay the onset of age-related diseases.
This is an exciting area of research with great potential to improve the health and longevity of humans. Dr. Van Deursen is a world-renowned expert in this field, and his work at the Mayo Clinic is leading the way in finding ways to prevent and treat aging.
The work of Jan Van Deursen, a Mayo Clinic scientist, is extremely important. He has discovered that senescent cells accumulate with age and contribute to frailty and age-related diseases. By removing these cells, it may be possible to prevent or delay these conditions. This could greatly impact the quality of life for older adults. Van Deursen’s work is still in the early stages, but it has the potential to change the way we think about aging and age-related diseases.
After earning a Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Nijmegen, Van Deursen moved to the United States to pursue research opportunities. He developed a groundbreaking stem cell editing program in mice, and from 1999 to 2010, he worked as the director of the Mayo Clinic’s transgenic and gene knockout core facility. In addition, Jan Van Deursen held a tenured position as the chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Clinic.
Since his discovery, senescent cells have been associated with various age-related diseases, including cancer and heart disease. But scientists had previously believed that senescent cells were harmless and unimportant. Jan Van Deursen discovered that eliminating these cells from mice greatly extends the lifespan of the animals and attenuates many age-related diseases. In 2011, Van Deursen co-founded Unity Biotechnology, which focuses on translating his research into therapy for aging.
In a groundbreaking study, Dr. Van Deursen genetically modified two mouse strains to kill senescent cells. They then injected these mice with the compound twice a week. Though the treatment didn’t eliminate all senescent cells, it did kill up to 70% of senescent cells in some tissues. The results were remarkable. However, the research did not fully eliminate senescent cells in mice.
Van Deursen earned his doctorate in cell biology in the Netherlands. He later came to Mayo Clinic to work on childhood cancer research. He created a mouse model prone to chromosome abnormalities. His next focus was on senescent cells, which degrade organ and tissue function. His research involved mice and a team of scientists to explore this issue. This allowed him to study the process of aging and the effects of senescent cells on the human body.
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