Stem Cells

Turning back the Clock on Aging Stem Cells

Posted on 30 March 2020

In a recent study, a Stanford research team successfully delivered epigenetic reprogramming , or Yamanaka, factors to human tissue cells. Driving back their epigenetic status into a more youthful state.

Importantly, the team found that if dosed for a short enough time, the cells retained their identity but returned to a younger state, as judged by several measures of cell vigor, including:

  • More youthful & healthier expression
  • Increase in differential potential
  • Improved tissue regenerative capabilities
  • Restoration of muscle function

Dr. Sebastiano, one of the lead investigators, said the Yamanaka factors appeared to operate in two stages:

  1. Raising the epigenetic energy to one level, at which the marks of aging were lost
  2. To a higher level at which cell identity was erased

The Stanford team extracted aged cartilage cells from patients with osteoarthritis and found that after a low dosage of Yamanaka factors the cells no longer secreted the inflammatory factors that provoke the disease. The team also found that human muscle stem cells, which are impaired in a muscle-wasting disease, could be restored to youth.

Members of the Stanford team have formed a company, Turn Biotechnologies, to develop therapies for osteoarthritis and other diseases. The study is

definitively a step forward in the goal of reversing cellular aging

Dr. Izpisua Belmonte

The results are novel and represent a significant step toward the goal of reversing cellular aging, and have potential therapeutic implications for aging and aging-related diseases.


References

  1. Sarkar, T.J., Quarta, M., Mukherjee, S. et al. Transient non-integrative expression of nuclear reprogramming factors promotes multifaceted amelioration of aging in human cells. Nat Commun 11, 1545 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15174-3
  2. Takahashi, K., Yamanaka, S. Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2006.07.024
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