- Benefits of manipulating RNA is that the cell’s blueprint does not change
- Spliced RNA could decipher ‘normal’ aged cells from pre-cancerous ones
- This could lead to new therapeutic strategies that uncover aging cells
- Experts say the ideal goal is to design a pill that can clear out these cells
With over 75 million baby boomers in the U.S. alone, age-related diseases are a major concern in the health care system.
The connection between aging and cancer has become a pillar in medicine: we know that as we age, our cells tend to accumulate damaging changes in their DNA, eventually becoming unfit to perform their normal functions.
My lab has found that examining a cell’s RNA may have the potential to identify the changes that our cells gain from aging.
Scroll down for videos
Elisa Lazzari with the University of California has found that cell’s RNA (pictured) may have the potential to identify the changes that our cells gain from aging. This focus on RNA represents a potentially major shift in how scientists try to prevent cellular damage
WHAT IS RNA?
RNA, which stands for ribonucleic acid, is a molecule made up of one or more nucleotides.
It is one of three major biological molecules that are essential for all known forms of life, along with DNA and proteins.
The main job of RNA is to transfer the genetic code to create proteins from the nucleus to the ribosome.
This prevents the DNA from having to leave the nucleus, and protects it from damage.
It also acts as an on-and-off switch for some genes.
The benefit of manipulating RNA rather than DNA is that the cell’s blueprint does not change, which could cause unpredictable, permanent changes to the cell.
This focus on RNA represents a potentially major shift in how scientists try to prevent cellular damage.
The causes of damaging changes to DNA are many.
Some mistakes occur while a cell divides.
It then inherits an incorrect DNA code from the parent cell.
This can lead to an aberrant, malfunctioning cell that leads to cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
Other hits are triggered by extrinsic factors, such as exposure to UV light or irritating substances.
While we can limit the exposure to some of these factors – for example, by putting sunscreen on and avoiding active or passive smoking – limiting other hits is out of our control.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3827686/Forget-DNA-experts-say-RNA-hold-key-eternal-life-pill.html#ixzz4Md8GPMiL
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook