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Scientists find genetic switch to reverse aging in mice. Hello, fountain of youth

5 November 2014, 8:41 am EST By Sumit Passary Tech Times
Scientists claim that they have found a genetic switch that can possibly reverse aging in humans. Drugs may be available in the future that can reverse the aging process.  ( Vinoth Chandar )

Many people have tried to find a cure for old age but none have been successful. However, scientists suggest that they have found a genetic switch that can reverse the aging process in lab mice.

The fountain of youth, a mystical spring that is believed to restore youth of the person who drinks its water, only appeared in stories. However, reversing aging can soon be a reality for humans which can increase the average life span of human beings in the near future.

Professor David Sinclair of the University of New South Wales (Australia), who also holds the professorship in the Harvard University, claims that he has cracked the secret of aging in lab mice. Clinical trials have already started in humans, which is why reversing the aging process will not just be a myth but will become a reality someday.

Professor Sinclair explains that he and his research team have discovered genes which control aging. These genes can be manipulated, which results in reversing aging in lab mice. Professor Sinclair explains that they fed lab mice with a molecule called NMN, which helped in reversing some aspects of aging such as grey whiskers, reduced bone mass and wrinkly ears. Now the scientists are exploring ways to reverse all aspects responsible for aging.

The researchers suggest that the breakthrough in reversing aging can help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs that can rejuvenate human cells and restore youthfulness. Professor Sinclair claims that the initial clinical tests on humans are also promising but still a lot of work is needed in the field.

"They show that the molecules that extend lifespan in mice are safe in people; they seem to be anti-inflammatory, so they might be useful against disease's inflammation, like skin redness or even inflammatory bowel disease," says Professor Sinclair.

In a speech at the UNSW, Professor Sinclair said that he thinks that human lifespan is very short. He revealed that if aging can be reversed then he will want to see six generations sitting together and talking about good times.

Professor Sinclair claims that drugs to slow down the aging process are already in development and he is confident that human lifespan will be extended in the future.

Many experts believe that an anti-aging drug will be like playing with God. However, Professor Sinclair suggests that an anti-aging drug should be treated like antibiotics, which have saved the lives of uncountable number of people across the globe.

It remains to be seen how swiftly the drug is made commercially available.

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