Researchers in Spain have managed to extend the lifespan of mice by up to 24 percent using gene therapy. They feel they're on to something and that the same therapy in human beings may have the very same results.
The research was conducted at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and published in a journal called the EMBO Molecular Medicine. Lead by the director of the Centre, Maria Blasco, the research team found gene therapy safe and effective for mice and Blasco said their data shows a single treatment of gene therapy in an adult mouse can lengthen its lifespan by up to that 24 percent number.
Gene Therapy and lifespan in mice
The study found that by using gene therapy - using DNA to alter genes - they were able to induce a process called telomerase, a process which slows down aging by protecting the tips of the chromosome. A study on mice published in Nature in 2010 showed that telomerase could reverse the effects of premature aging in mice.
The authors of this latest study say that their anti-aging therapy has no harmful effects. "(Study results) show that it is possible to develop a telomerase-based anti-aging gene therapy without increasing the incidence of cancer,” they said. “Aged organisms accumulate damage in their DNA due to telomere shortening (and) a gene therapy based on telomerase production can repair or delay this kind of damage.“
Treating adult mice who had reached the age of two extended their lifespan by on average 13 percent, treating them at the age of 1 extended their lifespan on average by 24 percent.