Intervertebral disc degeneration is one of the most common diseases among the elderly population. The disease occurs due to the breakdown (degeneration) of one or more of the discs, the spongy cushions that separate the bones of the spine (vertebrae). The disease causes chronic back pain and sometimes leads to disability. According to medical experts, the prevalence and impact of age-dependent diseases are increasing with increased human lifespan.
Now, a research conducted on mice by the researchers of Thomas Jefferson University, United States, finds that an injection of two Senolytic drugs — Dasatinib and Quercetin – given to a person can alleviate age-dependent intervertebral disc degeneration and decreases senescence burden. The researchers have shown that treating mice with a drug cocktail can mitigate disc degeneration that occurs with aging.
“Once intervertebral discs start to degenerate, there is very little regeneration that happens. But our results show that it is possible to mitigate the disc degeneration that happens with aging.” Makarand Risbud, a researcher at Thomas Jefferson University said.
The research published in the ‘Nature Communication’ journal said that to date, no pharmacological approaches to prevent age-related disc degeneration exist. However, through this research, the researcher tried to provide a novel approach to prevent age-related disc degeneration that may pave the way for treating chronic back pain. The researchers were looking for an effective and non-invasive way to treat back pain from disc degeneration that did not involve painkillers like opioids.
The research noted that surgery or steroid injections are options to treat low back pain from disc degeneration. However, the vast majority of patients do not meet the criteria for surgery and epidural steroid injections do not work well most of the time. Prolonged use of strong painkillers prescribed for back pain, such as opioids also carries the risk of addiction. The research suggests the use of injection of two Senolytic drugs.