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December 28, 2016

Cellular Reprogramming to Reset Aging

Turning back the aging clock has long been the Holy Grail of medicine. Now, from the Salk Institute in San Diego, California, USA, comes news that scientists there have succeeded in extending the average lifespan of live mice by 30 percent. According to a study published this month in Cell Magazine, the scientists used cellular reprogramming to reset the rodents' "aging clocks".

The finding suggests that aging is reversible
Though mice do not perfectly simulate human aging, the evidence implies that by resetting animals' biological clocks to more youthful states and their lifespans can be extended. While this research does not yet directly apply to humans, it promises to lead to improved understanding of human aging and the possibility of rejuvenating human tissues.

The scientists used mice predisposed to have progeria
Working with mice that had been genetically modified to carry "progeria", a mutation that leads to premature aging, allowed them to isolate and study the effects of aging. Rather than attempting to correct the genetic mutations that cause premature aging (a difficult challenge), the Salk team focused on restoring the epigenome, a system of chemical marks on the genome that control which genes are or are not expressed as proteins.

Partially reprogramming mutation and aging
The scientists began by reprogramming progeria mouse adult cells (iPS), e.g., skin cells, into what is called a "pluripotent state", an early embryonic state in which the cells are not yet specialized ("differentiated") and can be programmed to perform specific functions, such as becoming part of the skin or heart. The goal was to allow the iPS cells to grow into adult cells without defects.

The promise of pluripotent of cells
Though Nobel Laureate Yamanka was able to reset the aging clock in the test tube. This experiment is the first time for this success in live mice. Expect this procedure to be applied to other cells closer to humans. As we unravel the puzzle of the aging process, we will come to know several relatively ways to reset the aging clock. That said, the most important factor in human anti-aging will continue to be diet in slowing the aging process. If we are to find universal answers, we must examine the food supply and learn more about the relationship between nutrition and health. We have a lot to learn!

Special thanks to KurzweilAI for raising our consciousness to this important breakthrough.

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