Scientists Reverse Aging Process in Mice by Refurbishing Old Organs
November 29, 2010
(ChattahBox Science News)—Harvard University scientists may have finally discovered the fountain of youth—and created it in a laboratory, the UK Guardian reports. By using an experimental treatment, the researchers have determined how to rejuvenate the organs of elderly mice, allowing them to reverse the aging process.
The scientists hope to someday translate the technology into hope for reversing aging in humans, noted the study, which was originally published in the journal Nature. Essentially, the researchers bred genetically-altered mice that lacked an enzyme called telomerase, which normally protects cells and stops them from getting shorter during aging. Without telomerase, the mice aged prematurely and became ill, but when the researchers injected the mice and reactivated the enzyme, they were cured and their aging processes were reversed, the Guardian notes.
The scientists are now researching whether the breakthrough extends the life span of the mice, or allows them to live healthier lives as they age, the Guardian reports. If it can be translated into allowing humans to live longer, the scientists would have to determine whether it increases the risk of cancer.