Is gene therapy the secret to reversing ageing?
IN NEWS that could be taken straight from the set of a Hollywood blockbuster, scientists have revealed that they may have discovered the fountain of youth.
A new study in the United States has discovered a form of gene therapy that potentially reverses some of the signs of ageing.
Testing the gene therapy on mice, the scientists from the Salk Institute study in La Jolla, California, found that after just six weeks the mice looked younger, healed quicker when injured, had straighter spins, improved cardiovascular health and lived 30% longer.
Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, from the Salk Institute study in La Jolla, California, told The Guardian: "Our study shows that ageing may not have to proceed in one single direction. With careful modulation, ageing might be reversed."
However, the team were quick to point out that further research was needed before the gene therapy could be available to humans, which could take as much as a decade to complete.
The treatment uses stem cell therapy to reprogram and rejuvenate ageing cells.
The scientists involved said it was unlikely that the ageing process could be reversed or eliminated completely, but future treatments could potentially slow our internal clocks, thereby increasing life expectancy.
Prof Izpisua Belmonte said: "We believe that this approach will not lead to immortality.
"Our focus is not only extension of lifespan but most importantly health-span."