Cancer is increasing with aging. There are key genes that affect both processes. Leading cancer researcher and clinical oncologist discusses Klotho. It is a key tumor suppressor gene with anti-aging properties. Will Klotho help to treat cancer and delay aging?
Dr. Anton Titov, MD. You study anti-aging and tumor suppressor gene Klotho. Klotho is also involved in cancer development. What is the role of Klotho in cancer development? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. How can it help in cancer diagnosis and treatment? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Klotho is a major hormone in our body. It is responsible for regulation of many aging related processes. Dr. Ido Wolf, MD. That means that we take mice that do not express Klotho. They die at a very early age, but they have the full phenotype of aging. That means that these mice have atherosclerosis, they have skin atrophy, they have pulmonary emphysema. It is just like what we see in elderly humans. Klotho regulates crucial pathways in the body that are associated with glucose and with insulin. Because of that type of regulation Klotho may also play a role in cancer development. Actually, we all know that one of the best ways to live longer is to eat less. We know that caloric restriction is a wonderful way to gain longevity. Klotho mimics the activity of caloric restriction. We discovered that in many cancers Klotho disappears. Dr. Ido Wolf, MD. That means we see Klotho in the normal tissues. There is Klotho in normal breast or pancreatic tissues. But Klotho disappears in cancer tissue of the same origin. Dr. Ido Wolf, MD. That means that Klotho inhibits the growth of cancer cells. This was our first observation. Then we took it to the next level. The next level was to try to treat mice or cancer cells with Klotho. We found that treatment with Klotho is highly effective. Klotho can inhibit growth of cancer cells of various tumors. It inhibits colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer. Klotho is a very important tumor suppressor. We now aim to develop Klotho into a cancer treatment medication. This is a bit complicated because Klotho is a very long and heavy protein. This is something that we work very hard on now in the lab. Dr. Ido Wolf, MD. There are very diverse effects of Klotho tumor suppressor gene. Would Klotho-based medication would be available for treatment of cancers? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Yes. Theoretically one of its “side effects” should be longevity. Because Klotho is the hormone that suppresses aging. Dr. Ido Wolf, MD. That is no wonder that advancing age is the major risk for cancer. Clearly, if you can address both aging and cancer that would be wonderful! Exactly! Thank you!