By Fiona MacDonald, contributing writer for ScienceAlert.com
Researchers have identified a cellular mechanism that allows them to reverse ageing in mouse DNA and protect it from future damage.
They’ve shown that by giving a particular compound to older mice, they can activate the DNA repair process and not only protect against future damage, but repair the existing effects of ageing. And they’re ready to start testing in humans within six months.
“The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice, after just one week of treatment,” said lead researcher David Sinclair from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and the Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well.”
Sinclair and his team made headlines back in 2013 when they found that the cells of younger mice contained more of a compound called nicotinaminde adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+, than their older counterparts.
Not only that, but when they gave the older mice more NAD+, they started to look younger, too.
It was a big deal at the time, but one of the tricky things about medicine is that in order to show that something could work as a potential treatment, you need to first understand how it’s acting in the body.