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Chinese scientists claim to have developed a new type of gene therapy that can undo some of the effects of ageing in mice, the Reuters news agency has reported.
By reversing some of the effects of ageing, the Beijing-based scientists believe that this will extend the mice’s life span – and most promisingly, this new form of gene therapy could potentially be used on humans one day.
This new method was outlined in a paper published in the Science Translational Medicine journal last month. It essentially consists of inactivating a gene called kat7, which the scientists believe to be a major contributor to cellular ageing.
After inactivating this gene, the researchers saw a significant reduction in cellular ageing, they noted in their paper.
According to Professor Qu Jing, a co-supervisor of the research and a specialist in ageing and regenerative medicine at the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), this research and its results are groundbreaking.
“These mice show after 6-8 months overall improved appearance and grip strength and most importantly they have extended lifespan for about 25%,” Qu noted.
She added that they are yet to see any adverse side effects of undergoing this therapy for the mice used in this experiment.
“We just tested the function of the gene in different kinds of cell types, in the human stem cell, the mesenchymal progenitor cells, in the human liver cell and the mouse liver cell and for all of these cells we didn’t see any detectable cellular toxicity.
“And for the mice, we also didn’t see any side effect yet.”
However, while the results are encouraging, Professor Qu emphasized that this type of therapy is still some way off being ready for humans:
“It’s still definitely necessary to test the function of kat7 in other cell types of humans and other organs of mice and in the other pre-clinical animals before we use the strategy for human ageing or other health conditions.”
Continuing, she said the next step is to test this gene therapy method on primates but stressed that this type of research would be much more costly and time-consuming.
“In the end, we hope that we can find a way to delay ageing even by a very minor percentage…in the future,” Professor Qu concluded.
What About Other Anti-Ageing Methods?
Several anti-ageing studies have been conducted in the last couple of decades, but we’re still a long way off a safe and effective method or type of therapy which can be utilized to reverse the effects of ageing (in terms of actually making us healthier and increasing our life expectancy.)
However, there are numerous products and surgery options that can make us appear younger on the surface. This includes things like anti-ageing creams and serums, and Botox injections and face lifts.
A Quick Summary
- Chinese scientists claim to have developed a new type of gene therapy that can reverse some of the effects of ageing.
- This particular study used mice as the test subjects, but the scientists hope that this new treatment method could one day be used safely and effectively on humans.
- They saw no adverse side effects on the mice as a result of the treatment.
- Researchers said the next step is to try the therapy out on primates, but are wary that this next phase of research will be very costly and will take a while to complete.
- At the moment, there aren’t any safe and effective treatment methods to reverse the effects of ageing.
- However, there are several products and types of surgery that can superficially undo the effects of ageing, such as face lifts, Botox injections, anti-ageing creams and serums.