Stem Cells Used to Delay Aging in Mice

The ultimate dream of rejuvenation therapy – stopping and even reversing aging, was brought a step closer this month, when scientists at the Universty of Pittsburgh successfully used stem cell treatments to delay the onset of aging in mice.

The cells came from the muscle tissue of young healthy mice.

Mice with advanced progeria usually live for only days, but when the researchers injected the mice with a single dose of stem cells when they were 17 days old, the mice’s life spans shot up, with some living up to 66 days.

What’s more impressive, according to study co-author Dr. Laura Niedernhofer, associate professor in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, was when the researchers injected the stem cell mix into mice with a milder form of the aging disease. Those mice typically would show signs of aging like weak leg muscles, walking hunched over, and trembling. Following two injections of stem cells spaced several weeks apart, the mice saw relief in 75 percent of their symptoms. That suggests the stem cells delayed the effects of aging.

Scientists are excited because the injection of stem cells didn’t replace the aged cells of the mice, but actually appeared to rejuevenate them.  This could pave the way for easy to administer stem cell treatments in the not too distant future that could actually reverse aging in humans.  What is more, according to the research team’s leader, if the mechanism for the ‘switch’ that appears to rejuvenate the aged cells can be found, then it might not even be necessary to use stem cell injections.

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Breakthroughs in Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

Several breakthroughs in the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease indicate that rejuvenation of the aging brain is achievable in the coming decades.

Researchers at Cardiff University found that Parkinson’s patients could learn to regain movement through brain training therapeutic exercises.

At the University of Lancaster, a research team have discovered a blood test that could diagnose Parkinson’s Disease before any symptoms have manifested themselves.

But the biggest breakthrough has been in the potential use of stemcells to repair dysfunctional parts of the brain, such as those suffering from brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease or autism.

Scientists put healthy stem cells from mouse embryos into the brains of adult rodents who were unable to use leptin, a hormone that tells the body to stop eating.

The transplant worked to the extent that the creatures were able to process leptin again – and duly lost weight.

The U.S. researchers said they  studied obesity only because it would be obvious whether the experiment had worked.

Their true target in treating a critical region of the brain was complex conditions such as Parkinson’s, autism, epilepsy, motor neuron disease and spinal cord injuries.

Although it has become increasingly obvious that organs such as kidneys and hearts will soon be able to be restored to youthful states through stem cell therapy, many have questioned whether the complexity of the brain will prevent that organ from being rejuvenated for decades to come.  This latest research appears to suggest that even the brain will soon be accessible to stem cell rejuvenation therapy.

Scientists Discover How Yeast Cells Reverse Aging

Human cells have a finite life span.  An 50 year old man’s cells are closer to reaching the end of that life span than are a 20 year old’s.  Yet if that 50 year old impregnates a woman, the reproductive cells formed will have the same life span as if she was impregnated by the 20 year old man.  This has long been a puzzle for biologists, but now they seem to have discovered the ‘re-setting’ switch of the biological clock…at least in yeast.

If the human cell lifespan is controlled in a similar way, it could offer a new approach to rejuvenating human cells or creating pluripotent stem cells, says Angelika Amon, professor of biology and senior author of a paper describing the work in the June 24 issue of the journal Science.

“If we can identify which genes reverse aging, we can start engineering ways to express them in normal cells,” says Amon, who is also a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Lead author of the paper is Koch Institute postdoc Elçin Ünal.

Breakthroughs in Organ Regeneration

Stemcells seem certain to one day allow entire human organs to be regrown in the lab when the originals become worn out or suffer from disease. The only question appears to be when. That day seems to have come a little closer with TWO recent breakthroughs in creating organs out of stemcells.

In the first breakthrough, a Japanese team succeeded in producing a synthetic retina out of mouse stem cells – arguably the most complex body part thus far achieved.

But later in the same week, scientists in Edinborough announced that they had succeeded in using animal stemcells to grow kidneys the size of an unborn babie’s. The scientists hope the organs will develop into full size when transplanted into a human.

Possible Cure for Baldness Discovered By Scientists

Scientists researching a stress blocking compound may have accidently stumbled upon a cure for baldness, or at least the type caused by stress. The scientists discovered that bald mice that had been treated with the compound grew back a full head of hair within just a few months. Other scientists have expressed a cautionary note, arguing that even if the treatment could work on humans, it would probably only be of use to those suffering from baldness due to stress related reasons.

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Stem Cell Rejuvenation Therapy for Baldness

A breakthough finding by scientists researching the cause of male baldness means that a cure based upon stem cell rejuvenation therapy could arrive ‘within a decade’.  Why some men develop male pattern baldness earlier than others has been a mystery for scientists until now.  The researchers found that those men who bald early have stem cells in the scalp which fail to develop properly.  Now all scientists have to do is figure out a way to ensure that the stem cells in balding men do in fact mature. 

Working out a way to reactivate the stem cells and coax them into maturing  could allow hair to regrow, giving men natural-looking locks.

Possibilities include a cream or lotion that is rubbed onto the scalp, or a  technique that involves removing the stem cells from the scalp, kick-starting  them in the lab and transplanting them back.

Dr Cotsarelis, a dermatologist whose work was part-funded by the U.S. government and by L’Oreal, said he would also like to investigate whether his findings equally apply to women.

Dr Cotsarelis, a dermatologist, whose work was part-funded by the US government  and by L’Oreal, believes at treatment could be on the market within a decade.

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TA-65 – Miracle or Sham?

There has been a plethora of recent research linking telomerase with longevity.  This is a substance used by the body to repair the telomeres at the end of DNA strands that seem to cause cells to die.  Transhumanists and life extension advocates hope that by stimulating the bodies production of telomerase, the effect of aging might be delayed and radical life extension a possibility.

Some bio-tech companies are already producing supplements that claim to do just this – increase the production of telomerase.  One of the most controversial and talked about of these supplements is TA-65, produced by the biotech firm T.A Sciences.  However, such supplements are expensive, unproven, and potentially dangerous.

Biotech companies specializing in anti-aging research such as T.A. Sciences and Sierra Sciences are attempting to find compounds that most effectively activate telomerase.

To date Sierra Sciences has screened 254, 593 compounds and have found 858 telomerase inducers. Scientists are able to keep up this break-neck speed of testing 4,000 compounds per week by using robots to do the grunt work. It appears Dr. Andrews and his team is looking for a homerun before proceeding with further studies.

Although a different company produces it, Andrews has faith that TA-65 is a supplement worth taking. The problem is that wishful thinking may be blinding his objectivity. Many of us want radical life extension treatment at our fingertips but that doesn’t make it so. Frankly, more testing needs to be done before TA-65 can be accepted into the mainstream.

Enthusiasts taking it now are experimenting on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that as it is an individual choice. The reward of longer telomeres is great, but the costs may even bigger. Dr. West has raised concerns that TA-65 may work against the body’s natural anticancer program.


Lenalidomide – The Fountain of Youth Drug

Scientist have found that tiny amounts of the drug lenalidomide, significantly improve the immune systems of elderly people and could help pensioners stay fit and healthy well into old age.  The drug, which has been known to scientists for years, boosts immune system chemicals which are the key to fighting off invaders from bugs to tumours.  These chemicals are often lowered in elderly people with poor immune systems, but the scientists have discovered that very low dosages of the drug help their immune systems stengthen to the level of young people and other healthy pensioners.

Harvard Scientists Reverse Aging in Mice

Harvard Medical School Scientists have figured out a way to not only slow but actually reverse aging in mice. By tampering with the telemorese production of the mice – a chemical that appears to control the reproduction of cells – the scientists were amazed to discover that elderly mice returned to the physiological state of the equivalent of ‘middle-age’ in humans.

The findings are groundbreaking because they demonstrate that tissue can actually be returned to a youthful and healthy state – that tissue aging can actually be reversed.

However, the discovery may not lead immediately to an elixir of youth.  There are important differences regarding telemorase production in mice and humans, the mice did not actually live any longer than normal, and furthermore the unchecked production of telemorase is linked to cancer, although none of the mice in the study developed it.

Stem Cell Muscle Therapy

After one of the most exciting stem cell therapy findings yet made, it has been revealed that injecting stem cells into damaged or aged muscle may lead them to becoming permanently stronger.  A team at the University of Colorado transplanted stem cell into the muscles of mice and the results were astonishing.  Not only did the mice develop muscles twice as large as they originally had, but the gains remained into ‘old age’, the equivalent of an 80 years of age in humans.

A common problem in older people is muscle weakness, linked to a loss of muscle mass in the arms and legs. 

This can lead to a swift fall in the quality of life for older people and in some cases increase the need for extra care and support. 

The reasons for the decline in muscle cell production later in life are not fully understood, but the Colorado research is testing the theory that muscle stem cells could help arrest or even reverse this. 

They took young mice, created an “injury” in their limb muscles, then injected muscle stem cells from another mouse.