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Applying C. elegans to the Industrial Drug Discovery Process to Slow Aging

Weinkove, David; Zavagno, Giulia

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Giulia Zavagno
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy


The increase in our molecular understanding of the biology of aging, coupled with a recent surge in investment, has led to the formation of several companies developing pharmaceuticals to slow aging. Research using the tiny nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans was the first to show that mutations in single genes can extend lifespan, and subsequent research has shown that this model organism is uniquely suited to testing interventions to slow aging. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, C. elegans is not in the standard toolkit of longevity companies. Here we discuss the paths to overcome the barriers to using C. elegans in industrial drug discovery. We address the predictive power of C. elegans for human aging, how C. elegans research can be applied to specific challenges in the typical drug discovery pipeline, and how standardised and quantitative assays will help C. elegans fulfil its potential in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. We argue that correct application of this model and its knowledge base will significantly accelerate progress to slow human aging.


Weinkove, D., & Zavagno, G. (2021). Applying C. elegans to the Industrial Drug Discovery Process to Slow Aging. Frontiers in Aging, 2, Article 740582.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 29, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 19, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 24, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Aging
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Article Number 740582


Published Journal Article (610 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2021 Weinkove and Zavagno. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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