Elysium Health™ Announces Research at Mayo Clinic to Study Associations Between NAD+ Levels and Senescent Cell Burden and Develop Epigenetic Measures of Cellular Senescence
NEW YORK, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Elysium Health, Inc.™, a leading life sciences company focused on aging research, today announced the initiation of research at Mayo Clinic to study associations between circulating nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels in healthy adults and senescent cell burden, and to develop novel epigenetic measures of cellular senescence. The study will be led by Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Ph.D., M.S., professor and researcher in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic, and will utilize samples from Elysium Health's ongoing "NAD+ Baseline Study," which intends to further the understanding of the links between NAD+ levels and other markers of biological age. There is growing consensus in the field when it comes to defining the most prominent cellular and molecular hallmarks of aging from which to identify potential compounds to target, one such hallmark is cellular senescence. Currently, there are no widely-available, accurate measures of cellular senescence to evaluate efficacy of senolytic compounds that are designed to clear senescent cells. This research collaboration will explore the relationship between NAD+ levels and cellular senescence, and aim to identify a signal from which to develop novel epigenetic measures of cellular senescence and subsequently commercialize them.
"A significant barrier to developing interventions in the field of aging is the lack of reliable and valid endpoints against which to evaluate potential candidates," said Elysium Health CEO Eric Marcotulli. "Index was developed to address this challenge–to help assess the efficacy of interventions in a time-efficient manner while maintaining accuracy and precision. Cellular senescence is widely accepted as a hallmark of aging, but it has been a translationally-elusive target due to the inability to measure it reliably in humans. The advancement of senolytic interventions and technologies requires accurate, reliable, and non-invasive measures of senescent cell burden, for which this project will aim to identify a signal. The resultant applications, if successful, will demonstrate the potential of next-generation technologies based on the study of epigenetics—an area that is uniquely positioned for rapid growth because it sits at the intersection of AI/machine learning and aging research."
As an essential coenzyme involved in hundreds of metabolic processes, NAD+ is critical to cellular metabolism; and its reduced form, NADH, is required for mitochondrial metabolism and the resulting synthesis of ATP for cellular energy creation. NAD+ is also utilized by sirtuins, often referred to as the "guardians of the genome." NAD+ levels have been shown to decline with age in humans in circulating blood as well as skin and brain tissue. Although the underlying causes for deteriorating NAD+ levels have not yet been fully determined, understanding correlations between cellular senescence and NAD+ levels may help further elucidate the benefits of maintaining NAD+ levels with age.
Cellular senescence is a phenomenon in which cells cease dividing but remain metabolically active. In humans, cells that express markers of senescence have been shown to accumulate with age and at sites of certain age-related conditions. Recent work in Dr. LeBrasseur's lab at Mayo Clinic has focused on cellular senescence and the impact of senescent cells on physical function, metabolism, and resilience. There are often significant differences between chronological age, which marks calendar years since birth, and biological age, which is the average age an individual's body is expected to function and is a proxy for all-cause mortality and morbidity, making it one of the most powerful measures of overall health. The research led by Dr. LeBrasseur seeks to develop measures of biological age that can be leveraged in clinical practice to determine and manage risk related to medical interventions such as surgery, and in clinical research to identify people who may be most responsive to novel interventions targeting the biology of aging.
"Over the past decade, epigenetic tests have evolved to measure biological age with an increasing level of accuracy," said Elysium Health chief scientist and director of the Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at MIT Dr. Leonard Guarente. "This includes Elysium Health's work to improve the precision of our proprietary algorithmic platform for epigenetic examination (APEX), which was accomplished by reducing technical noise and improving repeatability, reliability, and accuracy to support our biological age test, Index. Having studied aging for more than 40 years, it is my belief that the field is at a tipping point. The newfound ability to measure biological age and associated biomarkers of aging, cellular senescence being one, allows us to study whether interventions can have an impact, thus unlocking the potential to realize the benefits of aging research in our lifetime."
One hundred and seventy healthy adults ages 25–80 will be enrolled in the "NAD+ Baseline Study," which was scheduled to complete in May 2020 but has been delayed as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found on www.clinicaltrials.gov under the identifier NCT04220658. Elysium Health already holds the exclusive license from Yale University for DNA methylation biomarkers of personalized health and aging and cellular senescence developed by Morgan Levine, Ph.D.
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