Tech

New Research On Genetic Processes Could Reverse Signs Of Aging In Human Cells

A study led by the University of Exeter Medical School has found that certain genes and pathways that regulate splicing factors – a group of proteins in our body that tell our genes how to behave – play a key role in the aging process. Most importantly, the UEMS team discovered that disrupting these genetic processes could reverse signs of aging in cells!

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The study, published in the FASEB Journal, was conducted in human cells on aged or senescent cells. It’s believed that these cells are the primary driver of the aging process and other groups have shown that if these particular cells are removed in animal models, many features of aging can be corrected.

Professor Lorna Harries, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research, said: “We’re really excited by the discovery that disrupting targeted genetic processes can bring about at least a partial reversal of key elements of the aging process in human cells. This suggests that they could be an important aspect in designing therapies that could keep us healthier as we age. Our ultimate goal is to help people avoid some of the diseases partially caused by aging cells, such as dementia and cancer.”

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These genes and pathways are repeatedly activated throughout life, through aspects of aging including DNA damage and the chronic inflammation of aging. The research suggests that this activation may hinder the activity of splicing factors that tell genes how to behave. When the pathways were disrupted, the team observed an increase in splicing factors, meaning better communication between protein and genes.

Dr. Eva Latorre, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who conducted the research, said: “This study is part of a fast-evolving body of work into how we age. We used compounds that are already widely available in clinics for cancer – and are known to be relatively safe. It’s still early days and we need to understand far more about the complex relationships of how our cells and genetic processes influence aging, yet it’s an exciting contribution to how we may one day be able to influence healthier aging.”

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