Senescent cells and cancer prevention
The build-up of senescent cells—cells that stop dividing, but do not die—is a hallmark of aging tissues as well as cancer. Prof. Valery Krizhanovsky has helped clarify how senescence, known to block the proliferation of premalignant cells, can also promote tumor growth and progression. Studying premalignant pancreatic lesions, he demonstrated that senescent cells within such tumors exhibit high levels of a protein called Cox2. Further, he showed that pharmacologic inhibition of this protein prevented the lesions from progressing and becoming pancreatic carcinoma. These findings indicate that targeted elimination of senescent cells may be effective in limiting progression of precancerous lesions, and serve as an effective strategy for cancer prevention.