Scientists Found a Way to Stop Aging in Human Cells


Image: Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr/Shutterstock. Collage: Rachel Pick
They targeted telomeres, caps on chromosomes whose length roughly corresponds to age.

By Kate Lunau | MOTHERBOARD

The only sure thing in life is that all of us one day will die. Humans have long been trying to achieve immortality, or at least live for 100 years and beyond. Some people think we’re getting closer, and new research is sure to bolster that belief: Scientists say they’ve managed to reverse aging in human cells.

„We can make aged cells younger,“ said Dr. John Cooke, department chair of cardiovascular sciences at Houston Methodist Research Institute, who is lead author of the paper published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Cooke’s team targeted the telomeres of patients‘ cells—the caps at the ends of chromosomes whose length roughly corresponds to age. Telomeres are a favourite focus of the anti-aging community. But there’s still good reason to be skeptical that we’ve found the fountain of youth.

In the new study, Cooke’s team took cells from children with progeria, a rare genetic condition that causes them to rapidly age. „These children lose their hair, they have osteoporosis. They look drawn and older,“ he told me in a phone call. These kids typically live to their early or mid-teens, when they die of a heart attack or stroke. This patient group is in desperate need of new life-prolonging treatments.

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