Research & Development

Cellular senescence is an irreversible arrest of cell proliferation. Senescence is understood to be a universal barrier which all cancers must overcome during their evolution. In addition to developing resistance to apoptosis, cancerous cells must bypass the senescence response. Death of tumour cells may be a preferable therapeutic goal, but for tumours in which this goal has not been achieved we believe that induction of senescence could prove an alternative and novel approach.

Senescence is a relatively unmined target area. Signalling pathways involved in the process of senescence therefore offer potential targets for new cancer therapies complementary to existing interventions aimed at apoptosis.


As a field of study, cellular senescence is rapidly maturing offering a rich vein of opportunities for the development of cancer therapeutics through mechanism-based approaches to drug design. 1 2 3 4

Senectus will accelerate this progress by applying novel screening technologies, in particular cell-based screening approaches.

Senectus has been founded on its expert’s cutting edge understanding of cellular senescence in cancer biology combined with cell, molecular and drug development experience and access to technologies such as engineered cell lines and advanced imaging.

An overview of the initial research program is detailed below:

Research Development Plan

  1. Keith, W.N. et al. Seeding drug discovery: integrating telomerase cancer biology and cellular senescence to uncover new therapeutic opportunities in targeting cancer stem cells. Drug Discov. Today. 2007 Aug;12(15-16):611-21.
  2. Atkinson S.P. & Keith W.N. Epigenetic control of cellular senescence in disease: opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Expert Rev Mol Med. 2007 Mar 13;9(7):1-26.
  3. Prieur A & Peeper D.S. Cellular senescence in vivo: a barrier to tumorigenesis. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Apr;20(2):150-5.
  4. Chiantore M.V. et al. Senescence and cell death pathways and their role in cancer therapeutic outcome. Curr Med Chem. 2009;16(3):287-300.)