Mice were used in a new form of gene therapy that saw multiple health improvements.
Many of us dread the gray hairs, wrinkles and aches that come with old age so it’s good news from a new study that claims the aging process could be reversible.
The research conducted on mice in a laboratory found the remarkable effects of a new type of gene therapy that caused rejuvenating qualities in the animals involved in the study. Biologically, after six weeks of the, the mice improved including looking younger, had straighter spines, improved cardiovascular health, had quicker healing times and actually lived 30 percent longer, according to a report in The Guardian.
The technique used is not able to be applied to humans but will go towards understanding the aging process better and finding different alternatives to manipulate human tissue into becoming rejuvenated.
“Our study shows that ageing may not have to proceed in one single direction. With careful modulation, ageing might be reversed,” commented Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, led the work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. “We believe that this approach will not lead to immortality. There are probably still limits that we will face in terms of complete reversal of ageing. Our focus is not only extension of lifespan but most importantly health-span.”
The discovery led on from research by Belmonte who previously looked into the phenomena of regeneration witnessed in some animals like lizards and fish, who can grow lost limbs and tails. The cells involved in this kind of regeneration go through a process that involved partial reprogramming and it’s this that led the team to think about rejuvenation in other organisms.
Despite the gene therapy not being suitable for humans, Belmonte believes the same genes involved could be applied by other means.
“These chemicals could be administrated in creams or injections to rejuvenate skin, muscle or bones. We think these chemical approaches might be in human clinical trials in the next ten years.”
Details of the study were published in the journal Cell.