Harvard scientists think they’re getting closer to a fountain of youth that can age people.
The team found six chemical cocktails that reversed the aging process in human and mouse skin cells “by years”.
Dr David Sinclair, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study, hailed the discovery as a “breakthrough” and a step towards “affordable full-body rejuvenation”.
Sinclair shared the findings on Twitter where he claimed that human trials could begin next year. The post caught the attention of the Twitter owner Elon Musk.
However, other scientists, including a Harvard professor, said the study “is mostly hype and preliminary.”
Previous attempts to reverse aging were only possible with an expensive and time-consuming method known as gene editing, which could cost millions of dollars if brought to market.
The new study published in the Aging magazine builds on existing research on anti-aging genes that won a Nobel Prize – tdiscovered that the expression of specific genes, called Yamanaka factors, could convert adult cells into young cells.
This Nobel Prize-winning discovery raised the question of whether it was possible to reverse cellular aging without cells becoming too young and becoming cancerous.
In this new study, researchers screened millions of combinations of molecules that could reverse cellular aging and rejuvenate human cells.
The team identified six chemical cocktails that restore aging cells to their youthful state in less than a week.
The team said they tested the cocktails on mouse and human cells, with results showing the aging of all six combinations.
“The effect of this four-day treatment is comparable to the total change seen after one year of regenerative treatment described in a landmark 2019 study, which also focused on restoring epigenetic information,” the researchers wrote. .
Age changes were assessed using rodent and human transcriptomic clocks, which use gene expression data to predict biological age.
“This new discovery offers the potential to reverse aging with a single pill, with applications ranging from improving eyesight to effectively treating age-related diseases,” Sinclair said.
However, not all biologists are convinced by Sinclair’s study. They say the researchers should have shown that aging cells caused a decrease in age-related health problems in mice.
Matt Kaeberlein, a biogerontologist, told DailyMail.com: “The screening method here is innovative and could lead to important discoveries one day, which is why I say the study is preliminary.”
“These cocktails they describe here might even have useful therapeutic properties. But there is no direct data in this article that provides proof of this.
“They should have validated at least one of these cocktails in an animal and shown improvements in age-related health measures or lifespan before making these claims about effects on biological aging.”
Metabolism researcher Dr. Charles Brenner told DailyMail.com that three compounds stood out for him in the latest study.
CHIR99021 blocks the formation of glycogen, which is activated during sleep to store energy – that’s why we don’t need to eat for hours at night.
Brenner also highlighted tranylcypromine, which is an antidepressant, and valproic acid which is used to treat bipolar disorder and can damage the liver.
The document does not highlight these risks.
“These are generally not safe alone or in combination,” Brenner said.
He also tweeted: “Sinclair claims his chemical cocktail (actually chemical cocktails developed by others) does not alter cell identity, but they did not do single cell sequencing to assess cell identity – only mass sequencing, which cannot answer this question.”
Sinclair shared the paper on Twitter and in a press release, hailing it as “a groundbreaking finding.”
“We have already shown that age reversal is possible using gene therapy to activate embryonic genes,” Sinclair tweeted.
“Now we’re showing it’s possible with chemical cocktails, a step towards affordable full-body rejuvenation.”
Sinclair himself has been the subject of media coverage in recent years due to his quest for eternal youth. He claims to have aged a decade.
In 2020, Sinclair published a study detailing how he and his team reset aging cells in mice to earlier versions of themselves.
“It’s a permanent reset, as far as we can tell, and we believe it may be a universal process that could be applied to the whole body to reset our age,” said Sinclair, who has spent the last 20 years studying ways to reverse the devastation. time, say CNN.
DailyMail.com has contacted Sinclair for comment.