Reversing the Clock: Scientists Reach Milestone in Learning to Reverse Aging in Mice

Scientists have reached a key milestone in learning how to reverse aging

These genes came from the so-called Yamanaka stem cells factors, a set of four genes discovered by Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka in 2006. The genes instruct the cells to reprogram their own identity. In the case of mice, these instructions led the cells to restart epigenetic changes which defined their identity, as for example kidney and skin cell types, two cell types prone to aging. These genes were from the Yamanaka stem cell factors, a group of four genes discovered by Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, in 2006. They can return adult cells back to the embryonic stem cell stage so that they can begin their differentiation or development process again. Sinclair did not want to erase all epigenetic information from the cells, but just reset it to the epigenetic instructions. Three of the four factors were enough to turn back the clock by 57% and make the mice young again.

Sinclair says, \”We are not creating stem cells. We are turning back the time so that they can regain identity.\” \”I was really surprised at how universally this works. \”We haven’t yet found a type of cell that we cannot age forward or backward.\”

Will the process work on humans? Sinclair is testing his system on non-human primates. Researchers are creating a biological switch to allow them to control the clock by activating the reprogramming gene and doxycycline. The animals would be given doxycycline to reverse the clock. Stopping the drug would stop the process. Sinclair is testing the system in the lab with human neuronal, skin and fibroblast cell samples, which are responsible for connective tissue.


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