EXPRESS – August 14, 2018: The article highlights that scientists have successfully reversed the process of ageing in cells for the first time in a move which could help beat the likes of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The reversal of the process of ageing would give many people hope in a bid to remain healthier and ultimately live longer and now researchers have made a stunning breakthrough.
They found out that as the body ages, it loses its ability to control how genes are regulated and they ultimately become more damaged until we ultimately die.
A gene is activated by signals from inside or outside the cell to make a molecular message known as RNA. And the decision on which type of ‘message’ is created by a group of around 300 proteins is known as “splicing factors”.
However, they found out that as we get older the amount of splicing factors the proteins are able to make steadily decreases. And older cells are then ultimately less able to turn genes on and off to react to the environment which makes us more vulnerable to diseases which ultimately kill us off.
Researcher Lorna Harries an Associate Professor in Molecular Genetics and Matt Whiteman, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics, both at University of Exeter, write for the Conversation that they have found a way to turn splicing factors back on: “In our new work, we showed that by treating old cells with a chemical that releases small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, we were able to increase levels of some splicing factors, and to rejuvenate old human cells. …Hydrogen sulphide is a molecule that is found naturally in our bodies and has been shown to improve several features of age-related disease in animals. …But it can be toxic in large amounts, so we needed to find a way to deliver it directly to the part of the cell where it is needed.”
That the toxicity can be reduced: “By using a ‘molecular postcode’ we have been able to deliver the molecule directly to the mitochondria, the structures that produce energy in cells, where we think it acts, allowing us to use tiny doses, which are less likely to cause side effects.”