Living longer and better is a debate that has been the focus of biotechnological ethics. People are increasingly trying to be healthy and away from death. Life expectancy is limited and humans, or some, want to find the fountain of eternal youth, something that may sound like science fiction, but it’s not. Some billionaires, for example, have been financing for some time cell rejuvenation companies, the key behind what could be the next step for humanity: immortality.
Now, A new discovery joins this very important debate. A team of Babraham Institute in Cambridge, United Kingdom, driven by Wolf Reik, understood a 53-year-old woman is 30 years younger, that is, she reaches 23 years of age and published theirs results in the scientific journal eVita.
At least they reached it with skin cells, although the team believes this discovery it could spread to other tissues in the human body. “We dreamed of this kind of thing. Many common diseases get worse with age and Thinking about helping people in this way is very exciting. ” insured Reik in dialogue with the BBC.
In the experiments they simulated a wound in the skin, the older cells were exposed to a mixture of chemicals that “Reprogrammed” to make them behave more like young cells and eliminate age-related changes. This has been done before, but the new job was completed in a much shorter time frame (13 days versus 50) and made the cells even younger.
The doctor Diljeet Gill, investigator of Babaham Institute, said, “Our understanding of aging at the molecular level has progressed over the past decade, leading to techniques that allow researchers to measure biological changes related to age in human cells. We were able to apply this to our experiment determine the extent of reprogramming achieved by our new method. Our results represent an important step forward in our understanding of cellular reprogramming ”.
The Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, Nobel laureate in 2012, has created a method of cancel and reprogram focused on four key genes known as Yamanaka factors, which can “rewind” adult cells into young stem cells that are capable of forming almost any tissue in the body.
This new method of the Babraham Institute is based on the Nobel Prize-winning technique used by scientists, which is inspired by the way old parental cells develop in the young tissues of a newborn, to produce stem cells. They are a sort of organic “white slate”, without the markers of aging.
The Babaham investigation represents a step forward because this technique does not completely erase the original cell. Instead, the reprogramming process is partially interrupted, which allows researchers to strike a balance between making cells biologically younger and preserving their specialized cellular function.
Aging into better health is an acceptable goal
The aging is the gradual decline in body fitness that occurs over time and leads to tissue dysfunction and disease. At the cellular level, it is associated with impaired function, impaired gene expression and disturbed epigenome. The Somatic cell reprogramming, the process of converting somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), can reverse these age-associated changes.
The key to the investigation, second Reik, it’s not that people extend their lives, but that they live as long as possible in acceptable health. To some extent, it would be something like this improve the quality of life to the maximum exponent during old age. For this purpose the team he used the same technique that was used with the famous dolly sheepimproved in 2006 with the method IPSdeveloped by Shinya Yamanaka, at that time in the Kyoto University in Japan.
“The long-term goal is extend the span of human health, rather than the span of life, so that people can age healthier, “he added. In this sense, although the study is in its early stages, the first applications could be in treatments for older people who have suffered burns or cuts, from the experiment showed promising signs that rejuvenated cells would be better at wound healing. The reprogrammed cells produced more collagen protein, which help heal wounds, compared to cells that have not undergone the reprogramming process.
The researchers also noted this their method had an encouraging effect on other genes linked to age-related diseases and symptoms. These included the APBA2 generation, which is associated with the disease Alzheimer’sand the gen MAFwhich plays a role in the development of waterfalls.
However, the researchers said so the mechanism behind the reprogramming is not yet fully understood, such as it could cause cancer and needs to be further explored before the findings can be applied to regenerative medicine.
The next step for researchers is extend these tests to cells in other tissues such as muscle, liver, or blood cells. This was detailed in BBC Melanie Welham, President of the Council for Research in Biotechnology and Life Sciences. “If similar approaches or new therapies could rejuvenate immune cells, which we know become less sensitive with age, in the future it may be possible to increase people’s response to vaccination, as well as their ability to fight infections. “
How to reverse the aging process it is a scientific issue that has attracted enormous attention and investment in recent years. Since then, many of the researchers who worked on the experiment Babaham Institute they left to join higher laboratories, a to boot backed by £ 2.2 billion Silicon Valley billionaires who have hired numerous Nobel laureates to work on human cell rejuvenation in an effort to prevent the diseases of old age that cause death.
Unfortunately, Big unanswered questions remain in the biology of aging. In short, it is still difficult to ensure that a pill can be found to ensure health in the later stages of life. Still, the case of this 53-year-old woman is an example of what biotechnology can and is already achieving.
Certainly, some debates arise here that go from biotechnological possibilities to ethical implications. Who could access these alleged services? Only those people with great fortunes? For now, the big fortunes are focusing on directing their scientific capital to this research as it is produced. a silent revolution in the study of our understanding of the biology of aging.