Researchers have successfully reversed aging in mice using gene therapy, according to a recent study published on the bioRxiv preprint server. The study utilized the Yamanaka cocktail of transcription factors, OSK, to perform gene therapy-mediated partial reprogramming, with the aim of identifying anti-aging interventions to reverse or defer the aging process. The researchers used adeno-associated virus vectors to deliver the doxycycline-inducible OSK system to the mice, which were aged 124 weeks, equivalent to approximately 77 human years. The study found that the OSK expression extended the average remaining life of the mice by 109%, improved their health parameters, and reversed epigenetic aging biomarkers in human cells. The authors suggest that further studies should be conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of partial genetic reprogramming studies in large animals.
Here are some of the key points:
The researchers used progeroid mice, which are genetically modified to age rapidly and exhibit features of accelerated aging, to test the effectiveness of their gene therapy approach.
The gene therapy approach used in the study involved delivering a cocktail of transcription factors (OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4) to the mice via a viral vector, which induced partial reprogramming of the cells.
The researchers observed a significant extension of the mice's remaining lifespan (up to 109% longer) as well as improvements in their health parameters, such as a reduction in a frailty index and a reversal of epigenetic aging biomarkers.
The study also involved testing the gene therapy approach on human cells obtained from a 65-year-old patient, which showed successful expression of the exogenous transcription factors and the potential for reversing aging biomarkers.
The authors of the study noted that more research is needed to assess the safety and efficacy of their gene therapy approach, particularly in larger animals, before it can be considered for use in humans.
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