(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have reversed the aging process of human skin cells by 30 years, according to a new study.
Although the results of the study are still at an early stage, they could revolutionize regenerative medicine, especially if they can be replicated in other cell types.
Scientists in a study published in the journal eLife said they have developed a method to set the time of human skin cells back three decades, to reset the clock of aging without losing cell function.
The researchers were able to partially restore the functions of old cells, as well as resume biological age.
In experiments simulating a skin wound, partially rejuvenated cells showed signs of behavior more similar to that of young cells.
Professor Wolf Reik, team leader in the Epigenetics research program who recently joined the Altos Labs Institute in Cambridge, said: “This work has very interesting implications.
Ultimately, we will be able to identify genes that rejuvenate cells without being reprogrammed and target them to reduce the effects of aging.”
“This approach promises valuable insights that could open up amazing therapeutic horizons.”
Dr. Diljit Gill, a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Reik’s laboratory at the Babraham Institute, said: “Our results represent a major step forward in our understanding of cell reprogramming.
“We have shown that cells can be rejuvenated without losing their function, and that rejuvenation is aimed at restoring some of the functions of old cells.
“The fact that we have also observed reversal of aging markers in disease-related genes is particularly promising for the future of this work.”
With aging, the ability of cells to function decreases, and the genome, i.e. blueprint of DNA, accumulates traces of aging.
Regenerative biology aims to restore or replace cells, including old ones.
One of the most important tools of regenerative biology is our ability to create “induced” stem cells.
However, this process essentially deprives the cells of their functions and enables them to become any type of cell.
However, the new method overcomes the problem of erasing cell identity by stopping the reprogramming at a certain point in the process.
This allowed researchers to find a balance in which cells become younger while retaining their specialized functions.
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