Two disciplines are currently in the focus of interest. On one hand, the increasing share of elderly people in the community is a concern for the society as a whole. Less and less young people have to support more and more elderly people. On the other hand, modern research is working to intensify this trend even more by explaining which biological processes are responsible for the process of ageing and whether one can prolong the lifetime.
Two types of aging body cells can now clearly be distinguished, namely tissue cells which no longer are able to divide themselves (senescent cells) undergoing a programmed death, and those which are decisively damaged by external influences (English: aging cells), as Dominick Burton explains in an article on the website "Senescent cell".
The ability to divide is determined mainly by the length of the approximately 40 base pairs of ends of the chromosomes (telomeres), which are shortened stepwise enzymatically.
The targeted removal of the cells which are no longer capable of dividing, and can, probing with the experimental drug Navitoclax, already today alleviate aging symptoms and support chemotherapy.
Damaged cells can be caused by oxidative stress, but also by at least three other processes and are therefore much more difficult to influence.