Some of us embrace aging as an unavoidable yet wonderful and exciting facet of life, while others have an anxiety attack every time we see a new grey hair sprouting from our heads. But those in the latter group can finally relax, as scientists now believe that the aging process can be reversed.
A recent study published in the journal Cell found that a new type of gene therapy seemed to have reversed the aging process in mice. As The Guardian reports, scientists from the Salk Institute targeted four genes in the mice that turn skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. After six weeks of treatment, the mice not only looked younger, but also had straighter spines and improved cardiovascular health. The animals also lived 30 percent longer and healed faster when injured.
“Our study shows that aging may not have to proceed in one single direction. With careful modulation, aging might be reversed,” lead study author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte told The Guardian.
The techniques used in the study aren’t immediately available for use in humans, though the team of scientists predict that chemical approaches that target the same genes might be in clinical trial within the next ten years. However, Izpisua Belmonte stressed that this treatment won’t lead to immortality. “There are probably still limits that we will face in terms of complete reversal of aging. Our focus is not only extension of lifespan but most importantly health-span,” he said.