According to The Telegraph, US researchers at the Salk Institute in California demonstrated how they were able to reverse ageing in mice, making them look younger and living 30% longer. Reportedly, the technique involves stimulating four particular genes, leading to the discovery that getting old is a "plastic process" and "more amenable to therapeutic interventions than we previously thought." Human trials are scheduled a decade from now, so try to stay alive the old fashioned way until then.
Scientists have known for some time that the four genes, which are known collectively as the Yamanaka factors, could turn adult cells back to their stem cell state, where they can grow into any part of the body.
But it was always feared that allowing that to happen could damage organs made from the cells, and even trigger cancer.
However, it was discovered that stimulating the genes intermittently reversed ageing, without causing any damaging side effects.
The New York Times explains the finding:
The aging process is clocklike in the sense that a steady accumulation of changes eventually degrades the efficiency of the body’s cells. In one of the deepest mysteries of biology, the clock’s hands are always set back to zero at conception: However old the parents and their reproductive cells, a fertilized egg is free of all marks of age.
Ten years ago, the Japanese biologist Shinya Yamanaka amazed researchers by identifying four critical genes that reset the clock of the fertilized egg. The four genes are so powerful that they will reprogram even the genome of skin or intestinal cells back to the embryonic state. Dr. Yamanaka’s method is now routinely used to change adult tissue cells into cells very similar to the embryonic stem cells produced in the first few divisions of a fertilized egg.
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