Immune Cells’ Influence on Epigenetic Clocks Reveals Body’s True Age


Scientists have made significant progress in understanding how immune cells impact the accuracy and reliability of epigenetic clocks, which measure the biological age of the body. Epigenetic clocks go beyond the traditional calendar age and provide a more accurate marker of an individual’s overall health. A team of researchers from Dartmouth Cancer Center, led by Ze Zhang, Ph.D., Lucas Salas, MD, MPH, Ph.D., and Brock Christensen, Ph.D., conducted a study to explore the relationship between the immune system and biological age.

The study, titled “Deciphering the role of immune cell composition in epigenetic age acceleration: Insights from cell-type deconvolution applied to human blood epigenetic clocks,” used novel tools for immune profiling. By analyzing immune cell profiles and their impact on biological age estimates derived from epigenetic clocks, the researchers discovered that the balance between naïve and memory immune cells plays a crucial role in accelerating or decelerating biological aging.

The findings provide a deeper understanding of how the immune system influences biological age at a cellular level. They also shed light on internal and external factors that contribute to the speed at which the aging process occurs. The research marks a significant milestone in unraveling the complexities of epigenetic clocks and their relationship with immune cells.

The implications of this study are far-reaching, offering new insights into the aging process and potential avenues for health interventions. Future research will focus on incorporating these groundbreaking findings into calculations of biological age using epigenetic clocks. This shift in evaluating biological age will ensure a more comprehensive and accurate assessment, revolutionizing our understanding of the aging process.

The researchers also plan to investigate the roles of different immune cells in various disease settings, particularly in different types of cancer. By uncovering the intricate connections between immune cells and epigenetic aging, this research could lead to more targeted and effective cancer treatments. It may also enhance our understanding of how cancer develops and pave the way for precision cancer prevention strategies.

This trajectory of research signifies a transformative shift in our understanding of disease and aging. It opens up new possibilities in precision prevention, precision medicine, and targeted treatments. With a deeper understanding of biological age and the immune system, the future holds the potential for more precise and effective prediction and prevention of diseases such as cancer.

The team’s findings not only provide valuable insights into the intricate relationship between immune cells and biological age but also lay the foundation for future advancements in healthcare. By harnessing the knowledge gained from this study, researchers aim to optimize health interventions and develop personalized treatments tailored to an individual’s biological age and immune system. This represents a significant leap forward in the field of precision medicine, offering promising prospects for enhancing overall well-being and prolonging a healthy lifespan.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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