Researchers have successfully developed a technique that reprograms skin cells to behave as if they are much younger, in an apparent sign that people could be able to turn the clock back on the cell-aging process by 30 years.
Cambridge's Babraham Institute's research could lead to the development of techniques that will stave off the diseases of old age by restoring the function of older cells and reducing their biological age.
In experiments simulating a skin wound, older cells were exposed to a concoction of chemicals that "reprogrammed" them to behave more like youthful cells and removed age-related changes, according to The Guardian.
The findings of the study could revolutionize regenerative medicine if the techniques can be applied to another cell type.
Researchers Used Nobel Prize-Winning Techniques
Previously, the findings were achieved, however, the new process to make the cells younger was completed in only 13 days.
"Our understanding of aging on a molecular level has progressed over the last decade, giving rise to techniques that allow researchers to measure age-related biological changes in human cells. We were able to apply this to our experiment to determine the extent of reprogramming our new method achieved," said Dr. Diljeet Gill, a researcher at the Babraham Institute.
The findings have paved the way for further exploring the understanding of cell reprogramming.
Researchers used Nobel prize-winning techniques that are inspired by how old cells from parents are turned into the youthful tissues of a newborn to make stem cells.
The technique does not completely erase the original cell but it halts the reprogramming process partway and enables researchers to make a balance between creating cells biologically younger while preserving their specialized cell function.
How Will the Research be Useful?
Research has shown that the technique could be used to heal wounds as reprogrammed cells produced more collagen proteins that help to heal wounds when compared to the cells that could not perform the reprogramming methods.
But researchers have warned that they are still verifying other facts as the mechanism behind the process could cause cancer.