Could This Yeast Cell Study Hold the Key to Extending Human Lifespan?

4 May 2023

(Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash)

In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed an aging process that increases the lifespan of yeast cells by a remarkable 82 percent. This groundbreaking research has significant implications for our understanding of ageing and the potential to develop new treatments for age-related diseases.

Vice reports:

Scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough in the effort to slow the aging process with a novel technique that increased the lifespans of yeast cells by a whopping 82 percent, reports a new study.

By programming cells to constantly switch between two aging pathways, researchers were able to prevent them from fully committing to either deteriorative process, a method that nearly doubled the lifespan of the cells. In other words, rather than the entire cell aging at once, the aging process was toggled between different physical parts of the organism, extending its life. This synthetic “toggle switch” offers a potential roadmap toward treatments that could one day extend human longevity, though that future is highly speculative at this time.

The researchers wrote in the paper: “Our work represents a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the successful application of synthetic biology to reprogram the cellular aging process and may lay the foundation for designing synthetic gene circuits to effectively promote longevity in more complex organisms.”

When asked about using similar approaches to allow humans to reverse ageing, senior study author Nan Hao told Interesting Engineering: “I can’t see why we cannot achieve that. A lot of scientists are working on that. The major concerns are mostly on ethics and safety. Another aspect is that our strategy is to slow aging, which is arguably more realistic than most other attempts to completely reverse aging.”

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