A team led by renowned Harvard Medical School anti-aging researcher David Sinclair has just published a paper showing that a mixture of chemicals can reverse cellular aging… in just 4 days.
It may sound too good to be true, but it may be. So far, evidence exists only in human cells in the lab. We are a long way from testing this in an animal model and even further away from testing it in humans.
But even if it is far from showing that turning back the clock in a single cell line can improve age-related health factors in living animals, the premise is at least very intriguing.
“We identified six chemical cocktails that restore youthful genome-wide transcriptional profiles and reverse transcriptome age within a week without compromising cellular identity.” Sinclair and a team of 17 other researchers wrote in their diary aging.
“Thus, age reversal rejuvenation can be achieved not only by genetic means, but also by chemical means.”
But given that this study is early in the process, taken out of the context of the cellular level, this is a very bold claim. So it’s no wonder there is already controversy surrounding this paper. Let’s break it down.
In this study, we investigated how cells lose information, especially epigenetic information, with aging.
As we age, our cells differentiate into only one specific cell type, out of limitless fetal potential. Eventually it ages and loses its function..
2012 Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John B. Gurdon The exhibition won the Nobel Prize This process is actually reversible. they found So-called Yamanaka factor Mammalian (OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4) can convert adult cells back into induced pluripotent stem cells with unlimited potential.
years later, A team of researchers showed Even temporarily turning on these Yamanaka factors in mice made the rodents healthier.
Since then, there has been a race to apply the same to humans without turning cells into cancer. it’s a risk Giving cells the ability to divide indefinitely.
However, all of these studies involve gene therapy using viruses to introduce the Yamanka factor gene, which is costly, controversial and not without complications.
The challenge is to find a way to achieve the same results using chemicals that can be repurposed into drugs and treatments, and this is what Sinclair says it has now achieved.
“Until recently, all we could do was slow aging. New findings suggest that aging can be reversed.” Sinclair says.
“This process has previously required gene therapy, limiting its widespread use.”
To find out, the researchers developed a system to distinguish between young and senescent cells.
They not only examined genetic factors associated with aging, but also the real-time rate of nucleocytoplasmic protein compartmentalization (NCC). After all, it turns out that older cells are more prone to leaky nuclear membranes.
Using this screening method, the research team showed that by using a cocktail of six different chemicals, the proportion of NCC in aged human cells could be reversed, making them approach young cells again.
Below is a graph showing different cocktails (C 1-6) tested on old senescent cells compared to senescent cells. stationary cell, serves as a control to compare with data on biological aging from rodent and other human cells. The vertical axis is age.
The team has kept the recipe for these cocktails a secret for now, but Sinclair More discoveries have since been made, he said on Twitter. than the six on paper.
The controversy surrounding this study isn’t really the study itself, but rather the claim that it has discovered some kind of anti-aging panacea, even though no animal model has actually been tested yet.
“This new discovery offers the potential to reverse aging with a single pill, from improving vision to effective treatments for many age-related ailments.” Sinclair said in a press release:
but While researchers say Despite the promise of new techniques developed to screen cells, it is too early to jump to such conclusions.
This is a sad sign of the times it must be said, but the headline claims: @Harvard University It’s not true that researchers have developed a chemical approach to reversing aging. No one has a drug that reverses aging. @Elon Musk And everyone else please don’t start thinking anything based on this nonsense https://t.co/9GQzwATkcL
— Matt Kaeberlein (@mkaeberlein) July 15, 2023
“This is a preliminary report of a new screening method in a cell line using indirect measurements of epigenetic state. There is no evidence here of reprogramming in tissues, organs or whole animals.” Keibaline wrote on Twitter:.
Still, many of us are living longer than ever before, so researchers are always looking for ways to stay healthy longer, and this is probably an important first step. You just have to take it with a grain of salt.
This research aging.