The fear of getting old and wrinkled seems to strike even the hearts of those who never seemed to care about gray hair. Now, we are finally at a breaking point with science where it seems possible to fix the age damaged skin without using embryonic stem cells. Now is the time we begin using adult cells.
Recently, some scientists have succeeded in using stem cells from donors over the age of 100. These old cells were reprogrammed in vitro to induced pluripotent stem cells and to rejuvenated human embryonic stem cells.
Inserm’s AVENIR Genomic Plasticity and Aging Team, directed by Jean-Marc Lemaitre, Inserm researcher at the Functional Genomics Institute (Inserm/CNRS/Université de Montpellier 1 and 2) performed the research. The results were published in Genes & Development on November 1, 2011.
Until now, research results demonstrated that senescence (the final stage of cellular aging) was an obstacle blocking the use of this technique for therapeutic applications in elderly patients. Today, Inserm researcher Jean-Marc Lemaitre and his team have overcome this obstacle. The researchers have successfully rejuvenated cells from elderly donors, some over 100 years old, thus demonstrating the reversibility of the cellular aging process.
Researchers first multiplied skin cells from a 74 year-old donor to obtain the senescence characterized by the end of cellular proliferation. They then completed the in vitro reprogramming of the cells. In this study, Jean-Marc Lemaitre and his team firstly confirmed that this was not possible using the batch of four genetic factors traditionally used. They then added two additional factors that made it possible to overcome this barrier.
Using this new “cocktail” of six factors, the senescent cells, programmed into functional iPSC cells, re-acquired the characteristics of embryonic pluripotent stem cells.
“Signs of aging were erased and the iPSCs obtained can produce functional cells, of any type, with an increased proliferation capacity and longevity,” explains Jean-Marc Lemaitre who directs the Inserm AVENIR team.
It seems we are on our way to looking younger. I personally think it would be a little strange to age and never show any signs of it. We would be vampires with better complexions. But to those that are mid-aged and want to get rid of the crow’s feet, your chances are getting better for that becoming a reality.
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