China: Scientists slow down Aging

Chinese scientists have developed a new gene therapy to reduce aging symptoms in mice and extend their lifespan

Chinese scientists in Beijing have developed a new gene therapy that can reduce some of the aging symptoms in mice and extend their lifespan, these promising results may contribute in the future to a similar treatment for humans.

The method was published in details in a scientific paper in the journal of “Translational Medicine” earlier this month, the method requires deactivating Kat7, the gene responsible of cell aging.

Supervisor of the research, Professor Qu Jing, 40 years old, a geriatrician and a specialist in regenerative medicine from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, explained that the treatment used was unprecedented, mice showed after 6 to 8 months a general improvement in the physical structure and strength, and most importantly an increase of lifespan for about 25 %.

Scientists were first able to identify 100 genes out of 10,000. Kat7 gene was the most influential gene in cell aging, and then they deactivate it in the livers of mice using a method called “lentiviral vectors” – “Lentiviral vectors in gene therapy is a method by which genes can be inserted, modified, or deleted in organisms using lentivirus. Lentivirus are a family of viruses that are responsible for notable diseases like AIDS, which infect by inserting DNA into their host cells’ genome” Wikipedia.

Professor Qu Jing added that despite these good results, the method is still far from being tested in humans, and it is necessary to test the function of the Kat7 gene in other human cell types, more organs of mice, and other animals before starting clinical trials on humans.

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