Gene Therapy Resets Biological Clock, Slows Aging 24%
Mice treated at the age of one lived longer by 24% on average, and those treated at the age of two, by 13%. The therapy, furthermore, produced an appreciable improvement in the animals’ health, delaying the onset of age-related diseases – like osteoporosis and insulin resistance – and achieving improved readings on ageing indicators like neuromuscular coordination.
The gene therapy utilised consisted of treating the animals with a DNA-modified virus, the viral genes having been replaced by those of the telomerase enzyme, with a key role in aging. Telomerase repairs the extremes of chromosomes, known as telomeres, and in doing so slows the cell’s and therefore the body’s biological clock.
When the animal is infected, the virus acts as a vehicle depositing the telomerase gene in the cells. This study “shows that it is possible to develop a telomerase-based anti-aging gene therapy without increasing the incidence of cancer,” the authors affirm. “Aged organisms accumulate damage in their DNA due to telomere shortening, [this study] finds that a gene therapy based on telomerase production can repair or delay this kind of damage.”
(via Gene therapy for aging-associated decline tested | KurzweilAI)