Rejuvenation: Researchers have reconstituted the skin cells of a 53-year-old woman to match the size of a 23-year-old man.
Scientists in Cambridge believe they can do the same with other body tissues.
The ultimate goal is to develop treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and mood disorders.
This technology is built on the techniques used to build Dolly the sheep built over 25 years ago.
The team’s head, Prof Wolf Reik, of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. News that he hoped the approach could be used to keep people healthy for longer as they grow older.
“We have been dreaming about this. Many common diseases are getting worse with age. And thinking about helping people in this way is very exciting,” he said.
Professor Reich emphasized that the work, published in the journal iLife, was in its infancy. He said here were many scientific problems he had to overcome. Before he left his lab to go to the clinic. But he said showing for the first time that cell renewal could be an important step forward.
Practice date back to the 1990s
The origins of this practice date back to the 1990s. When researchers at the Roslin Institute just outside Edinburgh. Devised a method to turn a sheep’s legland from a sheep’s egg into an embryo. It led to the creation of Dolly a merged sheep.
The aim of the Roslin team was not to create clones of sheep or humans. But to use a method called embryonic stem cells. They hoped that these could grow into specific tissues, such as body tissues. Cartilage, and nerve cells to replace worn-out parts of the body.
Dolly’s approach was facilitated in 2006 by Prof Shinya Yamanaka, and then at Kyoto University. The new method, called IPS, involves adding chemicals to adult cells for about 50 days. This led to genetic mutations that transformed old cells into stem cells.
In both Dolly and IPS techniques, the created stem cells.
Rejuvenation skin cells
Prof Reik’s team applied the IPS method to 53-year-old Rejuvenation skin cells. But they stopped using chemical baths from 50 to about 12 days. Dr. Dilgeet Gill was amazed to find that the cells. Had not evolved into embryonic stem cells – but had been regenerated into skin cells. That looked and acted as if they were out of 23 – in one year.
He said: “I remember the day I got the results and. I couldn’t believe that some of the cells were 30 years younger than they should have been. It was a wonderful day!”
His team could find another way, a safer way.
“The long-term goal is to extend human life. Instead of life, so that people can grow old in a healthy way,” he said.
Professor Reik says that some of the first applications would be to develop skin rejuvenation.
The next step is to see if the technology will work on other tissues such as muscles, liver, and blood cells.
Professor Melanie Welham, executive chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Which is part of sponsoring research that led to Dolly becoming a sheep, told BBC News that the long-term benefits of the technology clinic may not be so far away. .
Therapies can rejuvenate the immune system
“If similar therapies or new therapies can rejuvenate the immune system. Knowing that they are less responsive as we grow older. Then in the future it may be possible to increase people’s response to vaccination and their ability to fight disease.”
The big question is whether research efforts in this area could lead to a full body rejuvenation, a youth elixir or a pill of aging. Professor Reik said the idea was not far off. Some studies showed symptoms of regenerated pancreas, which is interesting for its ability to cope with diabetes.”
But Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, of the Crick Institute in London. Believes that the scientific barriers between Prof Reik’s result in the lab and simple clinical applications are huge. And he doesn’t think it will be a small process to translate the regeneration process. Into other types of tissue or indeed an anti-aging pill.
” If you find other chemicals that do the same thing, that would be fine. But they could be just as bad. It is therefore tempting to assume that you will have easy access to these chemicals and that they will be safer.
” It is also possible that some cell types may need different conditions that may be difficult to control. And that you can do it with your whole body safely can be far, far away, I would think it would be a pure guess. “