Reprogramming is the process of taking old cells and reverting them to young stem cells. It essentially erases and reorder specific genes and DNA methylation in cells to develop differently. The term ageing clocks refers to DNA methylation patterns creating a cycle where cells develop and mature over time. In a study done by Yuancheng Lu, Benedikt Brommer, Xiao Tian, and more, mice with damaged retinal nerves and old mice with poor vision were given their vision back via drugs and injections. In this experiment, researchers injected the mice to genetically modify four of their specific genes to rapidly age them so they could switch them on and off. Switching the genes on and off was one way the team hoped to revert cells back into their earlier stages without changing anything major. However, after the constant switching on and off it was learned that future tumors could develop. Therefore, Yuancheng Lu spiked the mice’s water with drugs in hopes to safely modify their genes by turning them on, without the drugs the genes would turn off. In my opinion, reprogramming can help cells stay young and healthy therefore expanding an organism’s lifespan. If these studies done on mice prove to be mostly successful, then one day it could be tested on humans.
This is a very interesting article you found! I find it a bit concerning that this method is creating tumors in the future. However it sounds like they're onto something and I hope they come to find a method that doesn't result in negative impacts in the future.ReplyDelete