WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers led by New York University School of Medicine published a new discovery in the journal Nature about the anti-aging effects of hormones.
- The NYU and Yale University researchers are looking for ways to adapt their findings into treatments for age-related diseases.
- They believe their findings could lead to new cure for kidney and heart disease.
Inspired by studies conducted 20 years ago, the researchers examined the structure of alpha-Klotho and beta-Klotho, called anti-aging hormones, and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a related protein, and how they help slow the aging process.
They initially thought that the anti-aging effects were caused by alpha-Klotho but the NYU team found out that it’s FGF23 that’s modifying the aging process and that alpha-Klotho simply helps FGF23 to moderate its anti-aging action.
Studies conducted in 1997 had shown that mice genetically engineered to lack either αKlotho or FGF23 suffered from premature aging and age-related disorders like heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
“By showing that all the ways in which [alpha-Klotho] was supposed to protect organs come instead from its ability to help FGF23 signal, we have shed new light on the underlying cause of aging,” said lead author Dr. Moosa Mohammadi, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at NYU Langone Health. “Our new structural data also pave the way for the design of novel agents that can either encourage or block FGF23-αKlotho signaling as needed.”
Yale University researchers described the 3D structure of beta-Klotho, generating insights that they think could lead to the discovery of new treatments for obesity, diabetes, cancer and other diseases.
They showed that beta-Klotho binds to FGF21. As a result, it promotes insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and weight loss. Some experiments had shown that FGF21 can stimulate calorie burning without a change of diet. The Yale researchers believe that beta-Klotho has a vital role in that process. According to a statement, they also found a variant of FGF21 that is nearly 10 times more potent.
Harvard and Boston University scientists launched a startup, Klogene in 2016. It works by targeting Klotho proteins to combat a range of neurological diseases.
Klogene merged with another Klotho-inspired startup in December, the Kogenix Therapeutics. The company claims it is developing small molecules and gene therapy treatments focused around Klotho, but it did not provide details about its progress.
Senior author of the Yale study Joseph Schlessinger, chair of pharmacology at Yale medical school, is leading a team that’s finding ways to both enhance and block the beta-Klotho pathway. They believe that enhancing it with drugs might ease diabetes and obesity while blocking it could be a potential way to treat liver cancer, bone disorders, and other diseases.
“The next step will be to make better hormones, make new potent blockers, do animal studies, and move forward,” Schlessinger said in a statement.
Source: Fierce Biotech