By Gianluca Riccio | 17 July 2023
Time has always been an unforgiving tyrant. One day that may not be the case anymore. A team of scientists from Harvard (and beyond) has been around us for years, and now they’ve announced a discovery that could change our perception of aging. Researchers have identified six ‘chemical cocktails’ that can apparently revert human and mouse cells to a younger version of themselves, and actually reverse aging by ‘several years’.
A cocktail for eternal youth
How exactly do these chemical cocktails that Harvard believes may be able to reverse aging work? According to the scientists, they act on a molecular level by influencing the expression of genes in cells. In particular, it appears that they can ‘return’ certain genes that normally become less active with age, returning cells to a more youthful and vital state.
Each of these cocktails is a blend containing 5 to 7 agents, many of which are already individually known to treat other mental and physical ailments. The real news, of course, is the fact that blended together these agents may hold the key to stopping and even reversing the aging process.
It starts in 2024
The announcement is from Dr. David Sinclair (we’ve been following for a few years his researches and his statements on the topic). Molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study that I link to you here, Sinclair said human trials could begin within the next year. He shared the discovery on Twitter, calling it a step toward “total body regeneration at an affordable price.”
Grateful to share our latest publication: We’ve previously shown age reversal is possible using gene therapy to turn on embryonic genes. Now we show it’s possible with chemical cocktails, a step towards affordable whole-body rejuvenation 1/17 https://t.co/J9c01lv5FQ
— David Sinclair (@davidasinclair) July 12, 2023
Reverse aging, not everyone is convinced
Despite the research team’s (no doubt infectious) enthusiasm, other scientists, including a Harvard professor himself, have preached caution, calling the study “preliminary.” Of course, it is the same caution that should be exercised especially in relation to the accessibility of these treatments.
After all, previous attempts to reverse aging were only possible through an expensive and labor-intensive method called gene editing. Had that process been commercialized, it could have cost millions of euros. Knowing that a much cheaper method could achieve extraordinary results raises doubts about its mass diffusion, rather than its effectiveness.
Reversing Aging, How Close Are We to the Finish Line?
This research builds on previous studies of anti-aging genes. In particular, the discovery that the expression of specific genes, called Yamanaka factors, could convert adult cells into young cells. Today Yamanaka is part of the “dream team” of Altos Labs, the company founded by Jeff Bezos to lengthen the human life span that only in 2022 had set this goal within the 20 years.
If the findings of this study hold their own, we could be on the cusp of a new era in the fight to reverse aging. A timeline more in line with forecasts by Ray Kurzweil, who “sees” the beginning of human “immortality” starting in 2030.
In any case, let’s curb the enthusiasm and wait to see if these solutions are for everyone, and are they effective: you don’t want to end up like Dorian Gray, do you?
Why do our bodies age? – Monica Menesini
The Hallmarks of Aging | LifeXtenShow
The Science of Slowing Down Aging | WIRED
Is Aging Reversible? A Scientific Look with David Sinclair | David Sinclair | TEDxBoston
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