Harvard University researcher Ronald A. DePinho has discovered a way to reverse age degeneration for the first time. His experiments on mice have demonstrated that you can return individuals to a younger state, with new brain growth and improved fertility.
While scientists knew about the role of telomerase—an enzyme that adds DNA sequence repeats at the end of chromosomes—in body decadence and experiments were made with extremely simple organisms, this is the first time that this breakthrough has been achieved in complex mammals. While it’s not directly applicable to humans, this discovery could be an amazing weapon to fight Alzheimer and other degenerative diseases. According to DePinho:
We wanted to know: If you could flip the telomerase switch on and restore telomeres in animals with entrenched age-related disease, what would happen? Would it slow down aging, stabilize it, or even reverse it?
It was akin to a Ponce de León [the Spanish explorer looking for the Fountain of Youth] effect. When we flipped the telomerase switch on and looked a month later, the brains had largely returned to normal.
One of the most amazing changes was in the animals’ testes, which were essentially barren as aging caused the death and elimination of sperm cells. When we restored telomerase, the testes produced new sperm cells, and the animals’ fecundity was improved – their mates gave birth to larger litters.
Not only the treated mice had their degenerative problems reversed, but they also lived longer than the individuals in the control group. The experiments were made in sick mice, however, not normal mice. Compared to normal mice, the treated beasts lived just the same.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be lining up for the human trials. [Harvard]