A GREYING POPULATION
We live in a rapidly aging world. By 2050, the percentage of the global population aged 65 years and older will almost double, increasing to 16.7% from 8.5% in 2015 (Wan et. al, An Aging World:2015, from the U.S. Census Bureau).
Inflammaging is a state of chronic inflammation believed to develop with advancing age. As we grow older, a series of complex changes ripple through our immune system. Rising levels of inflammatory factors lead to unresolved, degenerative immune responses. Mounting evidence suggests that this inflammation undermines many bodily systems, accelerates biological aging and contributes to age-related diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease. At HCW Biologics, our goal is to lengthen an individual’s healthspan by developing immunotherapies to mitigate inflammaging through the dual mechanisms of modulating inflammasomes and reducing cellular senescence.
Cellular senescence is a biological condition resulting from the impact of stressors, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and pollutants, on human cells. These stressors reduce natural human cell cytotoxicity, leading to the accumulation of senescent cells and senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Considered harmful to neighboring cells, secreted SASP factors also activate a type of protein molecule called inflammasomes that accelerate the increasingly persistent cycle of inflammation.
As we age, senescent cells accumulate, and SASP factors increase, leading to low-grade, chronic inflammation and age-related diseases. At HCW Biologics, our proprietary immunotherapy platform rejuvenates the immune system, allowing it to reduce accumulated senescent cells and silence activated inflammasomes. This disrupts the link between aging and chronic disease.
As the first line of defense against infection or tissue injury, our innate immune system activates protein complexes called inflammasomes that initiate inflammatory responses. These activated inflammasomes persist as we age, even in the absence of infection, and regulate the release of pro-inflammatory factors. As inflammatory factor levels increase, this fuels a feedback cycle of inflammasome activation and leads to the persistent, low-grade body-wide inflammation associated with many age-related diseases.
Our mission at HCW Biologics is to lengthen healthspan by modulating the inflammasome pathway to reduce inflammation and associated age-related diseases.