Autophagy is the name given to a collection of cellular housekeeping processes that recycle damaged and unwanted proteins and structures inside a cell. Most of the means of slowing aging demonstrated in laboratory species involve increased autophagy: it is an important response to any form of stress likely to result in more damage inside the cells. The less damage there is, the better off the cells. This in turn can leads to a longer, healthier life span to some degree. It is also worthy of note that autophagy declines with age, and this is though important in a range of age-related conditions.
Autophagy enhancement therapies have been on the research community agenda for a long time now. There have been scores of papers published on this topic in the last decade alone, even putting to one side the point that all calorie restriction mimetic development is likely based on increased levels of autophagy somewhere under the hood. Unfortunately, means of directly enhancing autophagy have not as yet made it out of the lab; there has been very little progress towards the clinic. This is worth bearing in mind when reading publicity materials of the sort presented here. It