UT Health Science Center San Antonio among group tapped by NIH to map senescent ‘zombie’ cells in the body

Posted on: Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Researchers nationwide, including a team from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, are embarking on a massive effort to learn the locations and roles of senescent “zombie” cells in humans. The health science center is part of a multi-institution group selected by the National Institutes of Health and the NIH Common Fund to map the cells’ presence in human kidney, fat, pancreas and placenta tissues.

UT Health Science Center San Antonio is a collaborating center in a $13.5 million NIH award (U54 AG075941) titled the KAPP-Sen Tissue Mapping Collaborative. KAPP is short for kidney, adipose (fat), pancreas and placenta. Coordinating centers are the UConn Center on Aging at UConn Health and Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn. Other research collaborators are Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Nicolas Musi, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the health science center, leads the biospecimen core of the project.

Although likened to zombies, senescent cells are still alive. However, they no longer divide and they emit substances that may be harmful or beneficial depending on the situation. The cells are implicated in aging and many age-related diseases.

Read more of this article on the UT Health San Antonio Newsroom.

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