Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Identification of Biomarkers for Immune Ageing and Comprehensive Interventions for Age-related Disorders

Yoko Hamazaki, Ph.D. | Kyoto University
Competition Sponsor: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
Awardee Year: 2020

Immunosenescence underlies increased lethal infection and inefficient vaccination efficiency in elderly people as well as various aging-associated chronic disorders after middle age. T cells play a central role in the immune system by promoting antibody production and directly killing target cells such as virus-infected cells and cancers. T cells also regulate immune reactions to prevent tissue damage and excess inflammation. Despite their importance for our lifelong health, T cells exhibit the most prominent phenotypic changes among immune cells with age due to the early involution of the thymus, which is the sole organ that can generate new T cells. From these perspectives, in this study, we will analyze the mechanisms of immunosenescence, especially focusing on T cells. We seek to identify biomarkers that will be useful for predicting the risk of age-related diseases and the severity or lethality of infections in elderly individuals. Furthermore, we will develop novel strategies to restore or rejuvenate age-related T cell dysfunction, which promises a wide range of age-related clinical applications.

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