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Chinese scientists develop a gene therapy that delays aging

Scientists in Beijing have developed a new gene therapy that can neutralize some of the effects of aging in mice and extend their life, and these results may one day contribute to similar treatment for humans.

The method detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Science Translation Medicine involves disrupting a gene called “Cat7”, which scientists have discovered is a major contributor to cell aging.

“The specific treatment they used and the results were the first of its kind in the world,” said the project’s co-supervisor, Professor Zhou Jing (40 years), a specialist in geriatrics and regenerative medicine from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“The specific treatment they used and the results were the first of its kind in the world,” said the project’s co-supervisor, Professor Zhou Jing (40 years), a specialist in geriatrics and regenerative medicine from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

And the team of biologists of the Chinese Academy used a method to screen thousands of genes, looking for those that are particularly powerful drivers of cellular aging, the term used to describe cellular aging.

Dr. Jing Qu (R), team leader for Stem Cell and Ageing group, and Dr. Wei Wang discuss the work on the genome-wide screen for novel ageing regulatory genes in human stem cells at the cell culture room of the Aging and Regeneration lab at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regeneration of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing, China, January 12, 2021. Picture taken January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

The most effective

Chu confirmed that they identified 100 genes out of about 10,000, and “Cat7” was the most effective in contributing to cell aging.

This gene is one of tens of thousands of genes found in mammalian cells. The researchers inhibited it in the livers of mice using a method called a “slow viral vector”.

Despite this, the method is still far from being prepared for human trials, according to Chu, but she expressed her optimism with the step, saying: “In the end, we hope that we will be able to find a way to delay aging, even a very small percentage .. in the future.”

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