Research, Technology

Scientists have rejuvenated human cells by 30 years. How is this possible?

As much as some people would not like to becomeImmortals are impossible—even science cannot ensure eternal life. However, scientists are constantly trying to manage the aging process by creating technologies to rejuvenate the human body. All living creatures are arranged in such a way that their cells eventually grow old and cease to perform their functions. For example, connective tissue cells, fibroblasts, are essential for the production of collagen, a protein that is responsible for the appearance of human skin. With age, collagen is produced worse, which is why the skin becomes ugly and even shallow wounds begin to heal for weeks, or even months. The branch of science in which scientists are trying to restore youth to people is called regenerative biology. And recently, a significant breakthrough was made in this area - scientists were able to rejuvenate cells by as much as 30 (!) Years. Let's look at the details.

Scientists can rejuvenate cells, which can increase the average life expectancy of people

How do scientists program cells?

The technology to rejuvenate people already exists, andit consists in creating induced pluripotent stem cells. It sounds very difficult, so I propose to remember only that as a result of this technology, human cells “forget” about their tasks and in the future they can learn to carry out any program that scientists give them. For a better understanding, you can imagine an adult who has studied for a certain profession, for example, plumbing. Scientists can make him forget all his work skills and turn him into a boy who can then master any other profession.

Scientists already know how to program cells to perform different tasks

The developers of the method for creating inducedpluripotent stem cells are scientists Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon. For their achievement, in 2012 they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The four molecules they have identified that play an important role in cell “memory erasure” are called Yamanaka factors. The technology exists, but at the moment, scientists cannot achieve that the created cells can turn into all possible types of cells - there are big limitations.

Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon

Scientists rejuvenated cells by 30 years

Recently, a completely different group of scientists decidedstart the process of erasing the memory of cells only half. After all, why completely “zero out” cells if they are taught new skills, if they can simply be rejuvenated and allowed to still do their job well? It takes 50 days to completely erase the memory of cells, but in the new experiment, scientists managed two weeks. The fibroblasts mentioned at the beginning of the article, which produce proteins responsible for the healthy appearance of the skin, were subjected to rejuvenation.

fibroblasts under the microscope

After two weeks of partial memory erasureThe scientists first looked at the chemical marks in the fibroblast genome that indicate its age. The researchers also tracked how well the cells produce collagen. To their surprise, the reprogrammed cells rejuvenated by as much as 30 years. It sounds like science fiction, but these are the words scientists described their achievement.

Collagen is important for skin health

See also: Is it true that aging is a disease that can be cured?

In the future, people will age more slowly

In theory, someday this technologycan really rejuvenate people. And we are talking not only about cosmetic rejuvenation - the cells themselves will be younger and cope with their functions just like in children. Perhaps someone has already noticed that in young people, abrasions and even more serious wounds heal quickly, literally in 2-3 days. And in older people, even small wounds cannot heal for several weeks. So, if you bring the technology to perfection, even 70-year-old people will have smooth and healthy skin. And if other types of cells are rejuvenated, most diseases can be avoided, which will significantly increase the average life expectancy in the world.

There is hope that in the future people will age more slowly than they do today.

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