These times demand the Times:
Young Blood May Hold Key to Reversing Aging
Two teams of scientists published studies on Sunday showing that blood from young mice reverses aging in old mice, rejuvenating their muscles and brains. As ghoulish as the research may sound, experts said that it could lead to treatments for disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
“I am extremely excited,” said Rudolph Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the research. “These findings could be a game changer.”
The research builds on centuries of speculation that the blood of young people contains substances that might rejuvenate older adults.
So what is in youngster's blood that is lacking in old-timer's blood?
To pinpoint the molecules responsible for the change, Dr. Wagers and her colleagues screened the animals’ blood and found that a protein called GDF11 was abundant in young mice and scarce in old ones. To see if GDF11 was crucial to the parabiosis effect, the scientists produced a supply of the protein and injected it into old mice. Even on its own, GDF11 rejuvenated their hearts.
It also gave a boost to skeletal muscles and some parts of the brain.
This is all wonderful news for aging mice. But will the idea work in humans?
But scientists would need to take care in rejuvenating old body parts. Waking up stem cells might lead to their multiplying uncontrollably.
“It is quite possible that it will dramatically increase the incidence of cancer,” said Irina M. Conboy, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. “You have to be careful about overselling it.”