Therapy safely reverses signs of aging in mice

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Age may only be one number, but it’s a number that often leads to unwanted side effects, from brittle bones and weaker muscles to increased risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Today, scientists from the Salk Institute (USA), in collaboration with the American biotechnology company Genentech, a member of the Roche group, have shown that they can safely and effectively reverse the aging process in mice of middle-aged and elderly, partially resetting their cells to younger states. His study was published in the magazine natural aging.

Compared to control animals, there were no changes in blood cells or neurological changes in mice that received the Yamanaka factors. Additionally, the team found no cancer in any of the animal groups.

In time

When the researchers analyzed the normal signs of aging in the animals given the treatment, they found that the mice, in many ways, resembled younger animals. This has been found in the kidneys and the skin. When injured, skin cells from treated animals had a greater ability to proliferate and were less likely to form permanent scars – older animals generally have less skin cell proliferation and more scarring. In addition, metabolic molecules in the blood of treated animals did not show normal age-related changes.

This youthfulness was observed in animals treated for seven or ten months with Yamanaka factors, but not in animals treated for only one month. Additionally, when the treated animals were analyzed at mid-treatment, the effects were still not as evident. This suggests that the treatment does not just stop aging, but actively reactivates it, although further research is needed to differentiate the two.

The team now plans future research to examine how specific molecules and genes are changed by long-term treatment with Yamanaka factors. They are also developing new ways to introduce the factors into the body.

“Ultimately, we want to restore resilience and function to older cells so that they are more resistant to stress, injury and disease,” Reddy said. “This study shows that, at least in mice, there is a way forward to achieve this.”

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