A new way to rejuvenate old cells in the laboratory, making them not only look younger but start to behave more like young cells, has been discovered by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Brighton.
A team led Professor Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Exeter has discovered a new way to rejuvenate inactive senescent cells. Within hours of treatment, the older cells started to divide and had longer telomeres - the 'caps' on the chromosomes which shorten as we age.
Professor Harries said: “This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life. Our data suggest that using chemicals to switch back to the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells.”
Dr Eva Latorre, Research Associate at the University of Exeter, who carried out the experiments was surprised by the extent and rapidity of the changes in the cells.
“When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn’t believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic,” she said. “I repeated the experiments several times and in each case, the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research.”
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