investigator david sinclairAt Harvard Medical School, Paul F. Director of the Glenn Center for Research in the Biology of Aging, Optimistic About the Question Was the first person born to reach the age of 150?
Work by him and other scientists over the past 20 years has shown how a range of molecules is able to markedly delay the aging process, at least in animals. that can potentially be carried to humans.
“At some point we will die, but not very soon. These technologies are being developed now, and the pace of development is accelerating. So I don’t think it’s too far for people to live to be 150He says in a recent interview Harvard Gazette.
Received previous tests from their lab Restore sight to blind and old mice, Its new progress published at the end of January room, They are believed to have rejuvenated the brain and tissue of these animals. All this from a new perspective of approaching the aging process.
The epigenome really responsible for aging?
For a long time it was thought that aging was the result of accumulated mutations in DNA, which interfere with the normal functioning of cells, tissues and organs, leading to disease and death. Sinclair’s theory instead describes how This is attributed to the loss of epigenetic information.
The epigenome is the proteins and chemicals that turn genes on and off. That is, they tell DNA what to do, where and when to do it. Over time this process becomes disrupted, as more DNA becomes damaged and the cell forgets how to function. However, findings in mice suggest that each cell has a backup copy of lost epigenetic information. Therefore it can be recovered.
“Rather than aging being a hardware problem, similar to an old computer, we’re finding that This is a software issue and you can reset the software on the old computer and get it working like new againCompares the researcher.
How science managed to put youth back in mice
To test their “information theory of aging,” Sinclair’s team managed to age tissues from the brain, eyes, muscles, skin and kidneys of mice through changes in the epigenome.
This involved genetically designing a mouse strain on which, instead of changing sections of DNA that gave rise to mutations, they cutting of DNA in different places of the genome, Mimicking damage caused by ultraviolet rays, pollution, and other factors that contribute to aging.
Within weeks, the animals lost hair and skin pigmentation; In a matter of months, there was degeneration of the tissues. After a year, the rats showed signs of older animals.
Towards eternal youth: they manage to reverse the signs of aging in mice
Then they tried to reverse these effects. for which a mixture was prepared on the basis of 3 out of 4 “Factor Yamanaka”, The cells were reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells, which are capable of becoming any cell in the body.
Analysis of muscles, kidneys and retina shows that this cocktail is allowed Reverse epigenetic changes induced by DNA breaks.
In this work we show that Up to 50% delay in body age is possible, And, when you can reverse aging and not just slow it down, then all bets are off,” Sinclair said.
Can these results be transferred to humans?
Since epigenetics are easier to change than DNA, the discovery opens up the possibility of power Restart the body to fight diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular conditions or cancerThe incidence of which increases with age.
“If we are correct, aging is a universal cause in all tissues and apparently in all species, from yeast to humans, and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are its manifestations.”
If confirmed, this would mean a Form “A fundamentally new way of treating these diseases”. “The Same Treatment for Heart Disease Could Also Cure Alzheimer’s and Diabetes”, In addition to rejuvenation. It’s an exciting moment. We may be looking at a new approach to treating diseases in general,” he stressed.
However, it may take decades for this to happen. The time required to be able to conduct clinical trials in humans, verify its safety, and obtain approval from health organizations.
Part of his research is currently focused on replicating the success of restoring vision now in primates. If it works, the scientist anticipates the first humans could be treated within a few years after the study ends.
About which the researcher is once again hopeful.
Nearly $5 billion has been invested in anti-aging drug development since our article was published in Nature In 2020. Many companies are working on this. So while we are at the forefront, there are many others who must succeed if we do not succeed first.”