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Telomere extension turns back aging clock in cultured human cells

RATE THIS! +22
Posted in Science on 25th May, 2015 05:56 PM by AlexMuller

A new procedure can quickly and efficiently increase the length of human telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are linked to aging and disease, according to scientists. Treated cells behave as if they are much younger than untreated cells, multiplying rather than dying.

 
The procedure, which involves the use of a modified type of RNA, will improve the ability of researchers to generate large numbers of cells for study or drug development, the scientists say. Skin cells with telomeres lengthened by the procedure were able to divide up to 40 more times than untreated cells. The research may point to new ways to treat diseases caused by shortened telomeres.
 
Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings.
 
“This new approach paves the way toward preventing or treating diseases of aging,” said Blau. “There are also highly debilitating genetic diseases associated with telomere shortening that could benefit from such a potential treatment.”

Tags: cellscell divisionresearchbiologytelomeresRNADNAgeneticsaging

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-05-26
+1
Yes, telomeres are important and their length can be manipulated to help some diseases. Researchers will have to make sure that by increasing a number of cell divisions, there is no increase in cancer risk- possible? Reply


 

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