Scientists Just Successfully Reversed Ageing in Lab Grown Human Cells
Science Alert: The ability to reverse ageing is something many people would hope to see in their lifetime. This is still a long way from reality, but in our latest experiment, we have reversed the ageing of human cells, which could provide the basis for future anti-degeneration drugs.
Ageing can be viewed as the progressive decline in bodily function and is linked with most of the common chronic diseases that humans suffer from, such as cancer, diabetes and dementia.
There are many reasons why our cells and tissues stop functioning, but a new focus in the biology of ageing is the accumulation of “senescent” cells in the tissues and organs.
Senescent cells are older deteriorated cells that do not function as they should, but also compromise the function of cells around them.
Removal of these old dysfunctional cells has been shown to improve many features of ageing in animals such as the delayed onset of cataracts.
We still don’t fully understand why cells become senescent as we age, but damage to DNA, exposure to inflammation and damage to the protective molecules at the end of the chromosomes – the telomeres – have all been suggested.More recently, people have suggested that one driver of senescence may be loss of our ability to turn genes on and off at the right time and in the right place.
As we age, we lose our ability to control how our genes are regulated. Each cell in the body contains all the information needed for life, but not all genes are switched on in all tissues or under all conditions. This is one of the ways that a heart cell is different from a kidney cell, despite the fact they contain the same genes.
When a gene is activated by signals from inside or outside the cell, it makes a molecular message (called an RNA) that contains all the information needed to make whatever that gene makes.
We now know that over 95 percent of our genes can actually make several different types of messages, depending on the needs of the cell.