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Scientists are still trying to get CAR-T cells to work as well in solid tumors as they do in blood cancers, but the genetically engineered immune cells just might have a superpower beyond oncology. In mice, researchers reported on Wednesday in Nature, CAR-T cells can eliminate the senescent cells partly responsible for many diseases of aging.

If the results hold up, they could add another candidate to a growing list of “senolytics,” experimental drugs that destroy senescent cells. A growing pile of mouse studies show that removing these decrepit and dysfunctional cells postpones or even reverses diseases of old age — and extends life span. The possibility that senolytics could do that in people has jump-started what analysts say could become a multibillion-dollar industry, with clinical trials already underway.

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