A new study argues that old human cells can be restored to a younger version of themselves after receiving an experimental protein treatment, which was inspired by embryonic development.
Elderly mice that received the treatment managed to regain some of their strength after muscle cells were extracted from the body received the treatment and were restored via surgical means.
Yamanaka factors, as these proteins are known, can be harnessed to convert adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, which are also known as IPS. These induced pluripotent cells carry the ability to mutate into almost any type of cell found across the human body and have played an essential role in the field of regenerative medicine.
Scientists find a way to restore the strength of old human cells
Aged human cells that interact with the proteins will undergo a surprising transformation at a molecular level, with many of the aging traits being reverted as they become almost identical in comparison to younger cells. The remarkable effect can be achieved by controlling the duration of the exposure to the proteins.
During the study, the researchers observed that the conversion from an old cell to an IPS cell could be achieved over two weeks in an environment that is strictly controlled. A limited amount of RNA is introduced in the form of temporary codes into the adult cells. These RNA messages will encourage the cells to produce Yamanaka factors. In the following days, the proteins will reverse the aging process, which affects the cells.
The cells will lose most traces of their old identity as they become younger. The tags which differentiate one type of cell from another one are also removed. Experiments conducted on cells that were collected from older people revealed that the age-reversing process started after four days since the first RNA messengers were injected. Further research seeks to optimize the RNA delivery process. More data can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.