Aging. We all face it. Nobody’s immune and we’ve long tried to reverse it, stop it or just even slow it down. While advances have been made, true age-reversal at a cellular level remains difficult to achieve. By taking a different approach, however, researchers at Houston Methodist made a surprising discovery leading to the development of technology with the ability to rejuvenate human cells. And that couldn’t be more important for the small population of children who are aging too quickly – children with progeria.
They targeted telomeres, caps on chromosomes whose length roughly corresponds to age.
Scientists have long known that DNA segments called telomeres play a crucial part in aging, but new research has discovered a protein that acts as a kind of cellular timekeeper, regulating the length of telomeres to maintain healthy cell division and prevent the development of cancer.
As the rope of a chromosomes replicates, it frays at the ends. No problem: A chromosome’s ends have extra twine so that fraying doesn’t reach into the body of the rope where the important information …