Making old cells younger either by making old cells into young stem cells or by effecting the TOR pathway for cells inside of old patients.
Cellular senescence is the state of permanent inhibition of cell proliferation. Replicative senescence occurs due to the end replication problem and shortening telomeres with each cell division leading to DNA damage response (DDR). The number of short telomeres increases with age and age-related pathologies. Stress induced senescence, although not accompanied by attrition of telomeres, is also attributed to DDR induced by irreparable DNA lesions in telomeric DNA. Senescent cells characterized by the presence of γH2AX, the common marker of double DNA strand breaks, and other senescence markers including activity of SA-β-gal, accumulate in tissues of aged animals and humans as well as at sites of pathology. It is believed that cellular senescence evolved as a cancer barrier since non-proliferating senescent cells cannot be transformed to neoplastic cells. On the other hand senescent cells favor cancer development, just like other age-related pathologies, by creating a low grade inflammatory state due to senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Reversal/inhibition of cellular senescence could prolong healthy life span, thus many attempts have been undertaken to influence cellular senescence. The two main approaches are genetic and pharmacological/nutritional modification of cell fate. The first one concerns cell reprogramming by induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which in vitro is effective even in cells undergoing senescence, or derived from very old or progeroid patients. The second approach concerns modification of senescence signaling pathways just like TOR-induced by pharmacological or with natural agents. However, knowing that aging is unavoidable we cannot expect its elimination, but prolonging healthy life span is a goal worth serious consideration.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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