Various tissues and organs accumulate senescent cells during normal ageing, but it is not known whether — or how — these cells influence health and lifespan. Jan van Deursen and colleagues show that when senescent cells accumulate during adulthood they are a negative influence on lifespan and promote age-dependent changes in multiple organs. Clearance of these cells delayed tumorigenesis and attenuated age-related deterioration of several organs without overt side effects. This finding suggests that therapeutic removal of senescent cells may be able to extend healthy lifespan.
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