Posted: December 15, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Aging, Bayer, Biological process, Blastomere, Boston, Cell (biology), Embryo, In vitro fertilisation, Longevity, Medicine, Stem cell
An end to grey hair and crows-feet could be just 10 years away after scientists showed it is possible to reverse ageing in animals.
Salk Institute in California, showed it was possible to reverse ageing in mice, allowing the animals to not only look younger, but live for 30 per cent longer.
Using a new technique which takes adult cells back to their embryonic form, US researchers at the
“Scientists hope to eventually create a drug which can mimic the effect of the found genes which could be taken to slow down, and even reverse the ageing process. They say it will take around 10 years to get to human trials.”
The technique involves stimulating four genes which are particularly active during development in the womb. It was also found to work to turn the clock back on human skin cells in the lab, making them look and behave younger.
Scientists hope to eventually create a drug which can mimic the effect of the found genes which could be taken to slow down, and even reverse the ageing process. They say it will take around 10 years to get to human trials.
“Ageing is a plastic process and more amenable to therapeutic interventions than we previously thought.”
Dr Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Salk Institute
“Our study shows that ageing may not have to proceed in one single direction,” said Dr Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory. “With careful modulation, aging might be reversed.
“Obviously, mice are not humans and we know it will be much more complex to rejuvenate a person. But this study shows that ageing is a very dynamic and plastic process, and therefore will be more amenable to therapeutic interventions than what we previously thought.”
In the future people could take a pill which turns their cells back to a much younger start, avoiding the need for cosmetic surgery Credit: Maggie West
“In other studies scientists have completely reprogrammed cells all the way back to a stem-cell-like state. But we show, for the first time, that by expressing these factors for a short duration you can maintain the cell’s identity while reversing age-associated hallmarks.”
Co-first author Pradeep Reddy, also a Salk research associate.
Scientists have known for some time that the four genes, which are known collectively as the Yamanaka factors, could turn adult cells back to their stem cell state, where they can grow into any part of the body.
But it was always feared that allowing that to happen could damage organs made from the cells, and even trigger cancer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 24, 2015 Filed under: Humor, Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Alternative medicine, Critical Thinking, Evidence, Evidence-Based Medicine, Hippies, Medicine, Mythology, Reason, Relativism, science, The Enlightenment, Tim Minchin, Tracy King, Wu Wu
In the confines of a London dinner party, comedian Tim Minchin argues with a hippy named Storm. While Storm herself may not be converted, audiences from London to LA have been won over by Tim’s wordplay and the timely message of the film in a society where science and reason are portrayed as the enemy of belief.
Written and performed by Tim Minchin @timminchin. Directed by DC Turner @dcturner. Produced by Tracy King @tkingdoll. http://www.stormmovie.net
Posted: December 2, 2014 Filed under: Science & Technology | Tags: Brain, Medicine, Organs, self-directed morphogenesis, Sonic Hedgehog protein, Spinal cord, Stem cells
As regenerative medicine and stem cell technologies continue to progress, so the list of tissues and organs that can be grown from scratch – and potentially replaced – continues to grow. In the past few years, researchers have used stem cells to grow windpipes, bladders, urethras and vaginas in the lab, and, in some cases, successfully transplanted them into patients.
Others are making progress in growing liver and heart tissue; one team in London is busy growing blood vessels, noses and ears; and some have even managed to grow tiny chunks of brain tissue, the most complex of all the tissues in the human body. Now, researchers in Germany report that they have grown complete spinal cords from embryonic stem cells.
Most efforts to grow tissues and organs rely on biodegradable scaffolds. When ‘seeded’ with a patient’s stem cells, these scaffolds provide a surface for the cells to latch on to and provide them with nutrients. The scaffold delivers the signals needed for the stem cells to differentiate along the correct path, and its structure coaxes them to form tissue of the right shape.
Nervous tissue is extremely complex, however. It starts off as a flat sheet of cells on the top surface of the embryo, called the neural plate, which, through a series of elaborate deformations, buckles and folds in on itself to form a hollow tube. One end of this neural tube will eventually form the brain, and the other the spinal cord. This complexity makes scaffolds unsuitable for growing nervous tissue, as they cannot be manufactured in the intricate shapes needed.
Andrea Meinhardt of the Dresden University of Technology and her colleagues therefore exploited a property of stem cells known as self-directed morphogenesis, first discovered by the late Yoshiki Sasai. About 10 years ago, Sasai and his colleagues developed a method for growing embryonic stem cells in three-dimensional suspension, and found that cells grown in this way can, when fed the right combination of signalling molecules, go through the motions of development and organize themselves to form complex tissues such as eyes, glands and bits of brain.
Meinhardt and her colleagues used a variation of Sasai’s technique, and embedded single-cell suspensions of mouse embryonic stem cells within a three-dimensional nutrient gel on Petri dishes. When left untreated, the cells begin to differentiate into immature neurons, giving rise to spherical structures containing immature cells resembling those found in the neural plate. Read the rest of this entry »