SENS is an acronym that stands for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. It is the formal name for the way SENS Research Foundation develops therapies for the diseases and disabilities of aging.
is a term originally coined by Dr. Caleb Finch
of the University of Southern California. It refers essentially to a condition in which senescence
(the progressive slide into sickness and frailty with age) is negligible
— that is, so small as to not merit consideration. He used this phrase to describe animals like the rockfish, lobster, and hydra, which simply do not seem to senesce. No matter how long these creatures are studied, they seem to have the same physical capacities. Moreover, their risk of death remains constant, rather than progressively increasing as a result of age-related pathologies – because those pathologies simply do not develop.
Humans, meanwhile, do not naturally possess “negligible senescence”, and our bodies are so differently configured from those of the rockfish, lobster, and hydra that there is no feasible way to “transfer” this property between species. Our mission to develop rejuvenation biotechnologies is based on the notion that it may be possible to apply the principles of regenerative medicine to the cellular and molecular damage of aging. In short, we think it ought to be possible to engineer solutions to age-related disease that stave off pathology indefinitely – such that, like the rockfish, lobster, and hydra – we are able to get old without becoming sick or frail.
Finally, we emphasize that our approach is a strategy
, not a fixed and final platform of new medicines. We work today to catalyze the development of a panel of rejuvenation biotechnologies
, each of which addresses one of the known forms of aging damage. But that panel is only a provisional iteration of the damage-repair strategy, and could well change in the future in light of new information, the discovery of superior methods, etc.
The Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, then, amount to a flexible way of approaching the development and continuous improvement of rejuvenation biotechnologies, to combat age-related disease and frailty however it may manifest itself now and tomorrow.