In a recent experiment, a scientific team from the Babraham Institute in CambridgeUnited Kingdom, he succeeded rejuvenate cells of a woman’s skin. The result was published in eLife, a scientific journal, and could be extended to other tissues in the human body.
“We dreamed of this kind of thing. many common diseases gets worse with age and thinking of helping people in this way is very exciting, “Wolf Reik, the leader of the experiment, told the BBC. This consisted of simulating a wound on the skin, where they exposed the older cells to a mixture of chemicals. They were then reprogrammed to behave like young cellsthus eliminating age-related changes.
Although this has been done before, it has now taken less time (13 days compared to 50 days in previous studies) and rejuvenated even more the cells. “Our understanding of aging at the molecular level it has progressed over the past decade, giving rise to techniques that allow researchers to measure age-related biological changes in the cells said Dr Diljeet Gill, a researcher at the Babraham Institute, adding: ‘We were able to apply this to our experiment to determine the extent of the reprogramming that our new method has achieved. Our findings represent a major step forward in our understanding of cellular reprogramming“.
This new experiment was based on the method of cancellation and rescheduling, created by the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka (who won the Nobel Prize in 2012). That technique consists of “rewind” adult cells in young stem cells. The old cells of an older person can become the young tissue of a newborn to produce stem cells. Furthermore, the technique used in the investigation was the same as that used with the famous Oveja Dollywhich was improved in 2006 with the IPS method, also developed by Yamanaka, at the University of Kyoto in Japan.
The difference between the previous research and the current one is that the reprogramming of the latter it does not completely erase the original cell, but partially breaks off. In this way, the science team can strike a balance between biological cell rejuvenation and the preservation of its specialized cellular function.
Do you live longer or do you live better?
Despite what it may seem, this research does not seek enlarge life: “The long-term goal is to extend the span of human health, rather than the span of life, so that people can grow old in a way healthier”Explained Dr Reik.
Showing that the rejuvenated cells it would be best for to heal wounds, are analyzing the possibility of applying this method in treatments for elderly people who suffer cuts or burns. Although the study is recent, it was noted that cells reprogrammed produced more collagen proteins, which help to heal woundscompared to cells that have not undergone this process.
Additionally, there was an encouraging effect for other age-related disease and symptom-related genes, such as the Alzheimer’s-associated gene (APBA2) and the cataract-related gene (MAF).
Despite the promising news, the mechanism behind the reprogramming not yet fully understood how it could cause cancer, according to those who participated in the investigation. For this reason, they believe it is essential to continue with the experiments before being able to apply it regenerative medicine.
“If they could similar approaches or new therapies rejuvenate cells immune cells, which we know become less sensitive with age, may be able to increase people’s response to vaccination in the future, as well as their ability to fight infections, “said President of the Biotechnology and Science Research Council. Melanie Welham The recent tests on blood cells or on those that are part of the liver or muscles will be implemented in future experiments.