Harvard Medical School researchers say they’ve found a way to stop cells from aging.
Researchers conducted experiments on mice that prevented and mitigated damage to their DNA from age and radiation exposure. These methods could be applied to slow aging and prevent cancer.
“Our results unveil a key mechanism in cellular degeneration and aging, but beyond that they point to a therapeutic avenue to halt and reverse age-related and radiation-induced DNA damage,” Dr. David Sinclair, a genetics professor at the University of New South Wales who was involved in the research, said in a press statement.
Scientists think the body’s ability to fix DNA dwindles over time because the coenzyme NAD gets worse at repairing problems. NAD is a key regulator of protein-to-protein interactions involved in repairing DNA.
The scientists exposed mice to DNA-damaging radiation, but treated the animals cells with NAD. Mice who were treated didn’t exhibit the typical radiation-induced aberrations in blood counts. Mice which that treated after being exposed to radiation also saw a protective effect.
The research points out that humans and mice have fundamental biological differences and may not be generalizable. However, if the study is confirmed in further animal studies and on humans, the findings can help pave the way to therapies that prevent DNA damage associated with aging and lead to new cancer treatments that involve radiation exposure. Human trials of this technique can be expected in as little as six months.
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