Gene Therapy Extends Mouse Life By 24 Percent
A new study consisting of inducing cells to express telomerase, the enzyme which, metaphorically, slows down the biological clock, was successful. The research provides a “proof-of-principle” that this “feasible and safe” approach can effectively “improve health span.” A number of studies have shown that it is possible to lengthen the average life of individuals of many species, including mammals, by acting on specific genes. To date, however, this has meant altering the animals’ genes permanently from the embryonic stage – an approach impracticable in humans.
Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre have demonstrated that the mouse lifespan can be extended by the application in adult life of a single treatment acting directly on the animal’s genes. And they have done so using gene therapy, a strategy never before employed to combat aging. The therapy has been found to be safe and effective in mice. The results were recently published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.