Researchers say they’ve completed a successful study which has found a way to delay the process of ageing in humans.
The study, by Lomonosov Moscow State University and Stockholm University, focused on the ‘role of mitochondria in the ageing of organisms’.
This ground-breaking discovery, albeit with rodents, could potentially lead to some extremely positive benefits in healthcare for humans, such as changing the way ageing is treated, rather than just the diseases that come with getting older.
What’s even more unbelievable, is their experiment may have unearthed some really interesting, new information which could change the way we think about ageing?
Researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University and Stockholm University investigated the idea further in a joint study, published in the journal ‘Ageing’.
Renowned Russian biologist, Vladimir Skulachev, lead the study which saw researchers experimenting with genetically-modified mice.
A ‘single mutation’ was introduced into the genome (genetic material of an organism) of these mice, which were created and characterised in Sweden.
This mutation substantially accelerated ‘mitochondrial mutagenesis’ and instead of living more than two years, these mutated mice lived less than a year and developed many age-related diseases and defects — clearly indicating these were caused by ageing.
The researchers treated a group of 100-day-old genetically modified mice with a synthetic compound called SkQ1, an artificial antioxidant which targets the mitochondria.
Futurism reported the SkQ1 was added into the drinking water of these mice, while a separate control group were given pure water.
By the time the mice aged 200 to 250 days, the control group had aged rapidly and lost weight, experienced a decrease in body weight and temperature, had osteoporosis and were developing alopecia.
There was also a decrease in mobility and oxygen intake — all signs of ageing and on the other hand, these were ‘dramatically decelerated for the mice treated with SkQ1’.
In other research, at Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, scientists found cells they were researching, iPS cells, have an insanely useful ability to turn back the clock and turn cells into ’embryo’ cells.
The same technique is also intriguingly being used to trial growing spare human body parts, which sounds more gruesome than it perhaps is.
Cambridge researcher Wolf Reik explained:
Obviously there is a logic to it. In iPS cells you reset the ageing clock and go back to zero. Going back to zero, to an embryonic state, is probably not what you want, so you ask: where do you want to go back to?
At this stage, scientists do not have the means to apply this to human cells, but they believe they could do so in the next decade.
Speaking in 2016, scientist Izpisua Belmonte said:
These chemicals could be administrated in creams or injections to rejuvenate skin, muscle or bones.
We think these chemical approaches might be in human clinical trials in the next ten years.
The main man behind the study at the Salk Institute in California, Juan Carlos described their findings:
Our study shows ageing may not have to proceed in one single direction. With careful modulation, ageing might be reversed.
They suggested how getting older is not just wear and tear and actually, we’re all predisposed to the rate at which we age because of our genetics and our parents.
Great news for some people who have youthful genes but unlucky for those with older-looking relations.
Disappointingly though, they say ageing can’t be stopped altogether but hopefully in the future, they’ll be able to slow the internal clock, adding years onto a person’s life.
Messing with nature though…