Aging is a natural process for all living beings, existing in the world. “Nothing is permanent”, reminds the same too. However, scientists of now have successfully managed to reverse aging in animals and possibly in humans, which is claimed to be as “breakthrough research” of the 21st century. A pair of researches involving two team of scientists approached the matter in hand and transpired their own ways of reversing the clock. So are the details in this article.
Reverse-Aging by Harvard Medical School
Students of Harvard Medical School have successfully restored vision in mice by turning back the clock on aged eye cells in the retina to recapture youthful gene function. The team’s work evinced that it is possible to safely reprogram complex tissues of the body, like the nerve cells of an eye to an earlier age, thus resetting the functionalities of cells and making it younger.
Moreover, the team had also successfully reversed vision loss in animals, a condition mimicking human glaucoma.
“Our study demonstrates that it’s possible to safely reverse the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore its youthful biological function,”
said senior author David Sinclair, professor of genetics in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at HMS and an expert on aging.
Sinclair clarified that if replicated, the studies would pave way for therapies to engineer various complex tissues across the body and ultimately reverse aging and age-related diseases of humans.
As per the team’s new theory about aging, most cells in the body possess same DNA molecules but performs different unique diverse functions. This specialization gets achieved only when certain cells affix to read genes specific to their type. This regulatory function is the purview of the epigenome, a system of turning genes on and off in specific patterns without altering the basic underlying DNA sequence of the gene. Changes in epigenome over time causes cells to read wrong genes and malfunction giving rise to symptoms / diseases of aging.
One of the important changes that arises of aging is DNA methylation of cells being lost and genes of those fail responding to cellular function. Yet, whether DNA methylation drives age-related changes inside cells has remained unclear. In the recent study, if DNA methylation does, indeed control aging, then erasing some of its footprints might reverse the age of cells inside living organisms and restore them to their earlier, more youthful state.
On occasion of mouse experiment of glaucoma, treating the animal with restoring genes (Oct4, Sox2 and Klf4) led to increased nerve cell electrical activity and a notable change in visual activity, as evaluated by the animal’s ability to see moving vertical lines on a screen.
“Regaining visual function after the injury occurred has rarely been demonstrated by scientists,” Meredith Gregory-Ksander (HMS Asst. Professor of ophthalmology) said. “This new approach, which successfully reverses multiple causes of vision loss in mice without the need for a retinal transplant, represents a new treatment modality in regenerative medicine.”
Oxygen Therapy of Reverse-Aging by Israeli Scientists
This breakthrough technique to reverse ageing focusses on treating the adult cells with oxygen which gave promising results of cells growing younger.
The project guided by Tel Aviv University and the Shamir Medical Center of Israel, attempted the process by healing body cells in a pressure chamber with high-pressure oxygen. Result was achievement of reversing two processes concerned with ageing and its illness, besides halting ageing. One was the shortening of telomeres (cap-like structures present in chromosomes) and the other was an accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body.
The research led by Professor Shai Efrati of TAU involved hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) on about 35 adult human beings over 65 years old, for 90 minutes a day, five times a week for three months.
In just three months, as per the study, the physical changes were “equivalent to how the participants’ bodies were at the cellular level 25 years earlier”. Also the subjects were found to have improved attention, information processing speed and executive functions.
Cells respond to a variety of factors, such as oxidative stress, DNA damage, and shortening of the telomeres capping the ends of chromosomes, by entering a stable and persistent exit from the cell cycle. This process, called cellular senescence, is important, as it prevents damaged cells from proliferating and turning into cancer cells. But it is also a natural process that contributes to aging and age-related diseases. Recent research has shown that cellular senescence can be reversed.
“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of ageing,”
said professor Efrati while speaking on the importance of the recent research. He said that researchers around the world have been trying to develop “interventions” that can lead to telomere elongation and the HBOT protocol has managed to do that.
The same approach was also handled by researchers of Korea, but by a technique of blocking an enzyme called PDK1, which restored the cells’ ability to enter back into the cell cycle, thus being younger. The scientists recommend investigations are next done in organs and organisms to determine the full effect of PDK1 inhibition. Since the gene that codes for PDK1 is overexpressed in some cancers, the scientists expect that inhibiting it will have both anti-aging and anti-cancer effects.
Check this out: Time Travelling is now paradox free, says this Young Physicist
The biggest fear that mankind ever had to experience is fear of aging, leading to death. Researches, developments and through the advent of modern science and technology, now it has been made possible to reverse aging and being younger all-time, both theoretically and experimentally, a finding that puts an awe-face. Scientists had paid justice to the fact that everything is possible.
Perfectly said so as,