Scientists Reversed Aging Cells of Young Children With a Rare Genetic Disorder


science is quite enthusiastic on extending our lifespan, They are keen to make our genetic material deteriorates slower than it otherwise would.
We age because the cells age. Although there isn’t a linear correlation between cellular aging and “actual” aging in the way we commonly measure it, the degradation of our cells is a useful proxy in this regard.
Cellular aging can be determined by looking at a person’s telomeres, the caps at the end of our chromosomes. They prevent the chromosomes from getting damaged or accidentally fusing with their neighbors but over time, as they weaken they shrink and contract. This makes chromosomes more vulnerable, and as they get damaged, so do we
Therefore, if there was a way to lengthen telomeres, then we’d effectively reverse cellular aging in a patient. This doesn’t mean the patient is technically getting younger, but it could mean that their general aging is stalled.
A team led by the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) decided to give this a shot, and succeed where other research groups have failed in the past few years.
They first examined 17 children – admittedly a small sample size – suffering from progeria, a rare genetic disorder in which children appear to age so rapidly. Those afflicted by it have abnormally shaped cell nuclei, among other things, and normally die by the age of 13 through a stroke or heart attack.
The team noticed that 12 of these children (aged one to 14 years old) had significantly shortened telomeres, suggesting that this is partly why their cells are aging so rapidly.
The team then took samples of cells from these patients, and using a groundbreaking technique that introduces RNA – DNA’s more primitive chemical “cousin” – into cells directly, the team stimulated them into manufacturing more telomerase.
This is a key building block protein of telomeres; its appearance ultimately had the effect of lengthening the aged cells’ telomeres. Cellular aging stalled and was effectively reversed by this procedure, if only for a few days. Previously malfunctioning and corrupted cells began to proliferate and replicate like healthy ones.
The cells were not implanted back into the patients, and this is only a proof-of-concept experiment. At this point, it cannot be said that progeria or cellular aging, in general, can be reversed in a person – but it can be in a petri dish.
Source: iflscience

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