Assistant Professor Corina Amor Vegas and colleagues at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in New York have discovered a way to reduce the rate at which we age by reprogramming our cells.
So far the findings only apply to mice, but with such a successful outcome, and a lot more research, it could reach human trials in a matter of years.
The treatment works by targeting old, worn-out cells, known as senescent cells, with specialised immune cells.
Senescent cells leak harmful substances and lead to inflammation, which over time, damages our bodies and leads to a range of age-related diseases – and wrinkles.
At the other end of the scale, CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cells, have been modified by scientists to seek out and destroy bad cells. They were originally developed to fight cancer, but in this study were tweaked to target senescent cells.
The researchers found astonishing results from this ‘living’ drug.
‘If we give it to aged mice, they rejuvenate,’ said Assistant Professor Amor Vegas. ‘If we give it to young mice, they age slower.
‘No other therapy right now can do this.’
She said the treatment could become so potent, that only one dose would be required.
In this one dose, we could see our lifespan expand, digestion improve, tolerate glucose better, and increase the amount we can exercise.
It could also revolutionise ageing and the treatment of age-related diseases.
Ageing is a natural process, and the study, published in the journal Nature Aging, is not about us living forever, but living healthier lives.
The researchers noted, that almost miraculously, the mice in the study showed both better physical and metabolic health without any side effects.
So there we have it.
An elixir of youth without the need of a fountain.