by Ion Gireada on 4 November 2014
Eternal youth is getting closer, as scientists were able to turn off the aging gene, a new research found.

Using lab mice, researchers were able to switch on the youthful genes, while turning off the aging genes by using proteins and molecules that appear naturally.

“We’ve discovered genes that control how the body fights against aging and these genes, if you turn them on just the right way, they can have very powerful effects, even reversing aging – at least in mice so far,” said leader of the study, David Sinclair, Professor of Genetics at Harvard and UNSW. “We fed them a molecule that’s called NMN and this reversed aging completely within just a week of treatment in the muscle, and now we’re looking to reverse all aspects of aging if possible.”

This discovery could be used to create drugs that could restore youthfulness in human cells, says Professor Sinclair.

“We’ve gone from mice into early human studies actually. There have been some clinical trials around the world, and we’re hoping in the next few years to know if this will actually work in people as well,” he said.

Even though experiments with human subjects were small, they showed promising results.

“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,” he said. “Eventually we want these molecules to be taken by many people to prevent diseases of ageing and make them live longer, healthier lives.”

Rewarding Professor Sinclair’s contribution to science, Time Magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world. Dr. Sinclair said he took resveratrol for the last 10 years, convinced of its safety and health benefits. Resveratrol is a phenol found in red wine, famous for its effects on reducing blood pressure and preserving heart health.

“I’ve been taking resveratrol for the last 10 years because it seemed to be very safe,” he said. “I think the risks are, for me, worth it, though I don’t ever promote it. But the more research that I see done, and there are now thousands of papers on it, I think that there’s a good chance that it’ll have some benefit.”

In his opinion, his discovery could be used and perceived similar to antibiotics.

“Some people say it’s like playing God, but if you ask somebody 100 years ago, what about antibiotics? They probably would have said the same thing,” he said. “Some people worry about big advances in technology and medicine, but once it’s adapted and it’s natural for people to live until they’re 90 in a healthy way … we’ll look back at today like we do at the times before antibiotics when people died from an infected splinter.”