Researchers at Harvard Medical School have been able to reverse the aging process in mice. The experimental treatment conducted on mice leads scientists to believe that it is possible to achieve similar feats on humans or slow down the aging process.
“What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal ? and that was unexpected,” stated Ronald DePinho, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School that led the study. “This could lead to strategies that enhance the regenerative potential of organs as individuals age and so increase their quality of life. Whether it serves to increase longevity is a question we are not yet in a position to answer.”
The aging process is caused by many factors including highly reactive particles that are called free radicals and is made naturally in the body and causes damage to cells. Smoking, UV light, and other factors contribute to aging.
The group at Harvard Medical School worked on a process called telomere shortening. At Harvard, the research group bred genetically manipulated mice that lacked an enzyme called telomerase. By not having this enzyme, the mice had aged prematurely and suffered from different diseases. After giving them an injection to reactivate the enzyme, the damaged tissues in the mice were repaired and they had reversed the signs of aging.
“These were severely aged animals, but after a month of treatment they showed a substantial restoration, including the growth of new neurons in their brains,” stated DePinho.