Could gene therapy may help us live longer?
2012-05-16 0:00

From: Times Of India

In a pioneering experiment, Spanish scientists claim to have extended the lifespan of aging mice by up to 24%, using a single gene therapy treatment. If this research pays off, then things are looking up for aging humans too, says a team at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre which has published its findings in the ’EMBO Molecular Medicine’ journal.

Earlier studies have shown that it is possible to lengthen the average life of individuals of many species, including mammals, by acting on specific genes - an approach impracticable in humans. Now, the Spanish scientists , led by Maria Blasco, 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 scientists induced cells to express telomerase - the enzyme which metaphorically slows down the biological clock.

The gene therapy consisted of treating the animals with a DNA-modified virus, the viral genes having been replaced by those of the telomerase enzyme, with a key role in aging.


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