The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

“Once upon a time, the planet was tyrannized by a giant dragon. The dragon stood taller than the largest cathedral, and it was covered with thick black scales. Its red eyes glowed with hate, and from its terrible jaws flowed an incessant stream of evil-smelling yellowish-green slime. It demanded from humankind a blood-curdling tribute: to satisfy its enormous appetite, ten thousand men and women had to be delivered every evening at the onset of dark to the foot of the mountain where the dragon-tyrant lived. Sometimes the dragon would devour these unfortunate souls upon arrival; sometimes again it would lock them up in the mountain where they would wither away for months or years before eventually being consumed…”

-Nick Bolstrom, “The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant.” Originally published in Journal of Medical Ethics, 2005, Vol. 31, No. 5, pp 273-277.

And now, almost 17 years after the publication of this fable, there appears to be the first weapon against the dragon tyrant of the tale:

“Senolytic vaccination also improved normal and pathological phenotypes associated with aging, and extended the male lifespan of progeroid mice. Our results suggest that vaccination targeting seno-antigens could be a potential strategy for new senolytic therapies.”

-Suda, M., Shimizu, I., Katsuumi, G. et al. Senolytic vaccination improves normal and pathological age-related phenotypes and increases lifespan in progeroid mice. Nat Aging 1, 1117–1126 (2021).

I’d guess probably 20 years until this is a regular feature of clinical therapy.