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Aging Reversed In Mice

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the pressing-the-reset-button dept.

Medicine 554

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the aging process after experimental treatment developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies. 'What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilization of the aging process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected,' says Ronald DePinho, who led the study. The Harvard group focused on a process called telomere shortening where each time a cell divides, the telomeres are snipped shorter, until eventually they stop working and the cell dies or goes into a suspended state called 'senescence.' Researchers bred genetically manipulated mice that lacked an enzyme called telomerase that stops telomeres getting shorter causing the mice to age prematurely and suffer ailments, including a poor sense of smell, smaller brain size, infertility and damaged intestines and spleens. When the mice were given injections to reactivate the enzyme, it repaired the damaged tissues and reversed the signs of aging raising hope among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the aging process."

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554 comments

Old news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372632)

This isn't worth posting.

Re:Old news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372640)

Just inject some telomerase and it'll be back in its prime. Also, cancerous.

Re:Old news (2, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372664)

...Also, cancerous.

Might be not much of a problem, in the range of a lifespan typical for a mouse. For us OTOH...

But it's good to see that biological neural networks being part of computer known as Earth work on upgrades of their true rulers.

Re:Old news (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372968)

Ahh but here's the kicker - I give you a choice - have your body begin to wither at age 40, and die at around age 70, or have your body be perfect until age 150, and you die of cancer at age 160?

It might not be so bad as it seems.

Quality, not quantity (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372658)

For the most part, most of us live long enough. What is necessary is a substantial increase in the quality of our lives, not an increase in the length of it. If this treatment can return youthful vigor to our cells, that is something amazing. So far we've been relegated to using HGH or steroids or exercise and diet to control our aging process. However, the actual cellular aging progresses unhindered.

A treatment that does not require diet and exercise modifications is sorely needed.

Re:Quality, not quantity (2, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372696)

[quote]A treatment that does not require diet and exercise modifications is sorely needed.[/quote]

Absolutely. Because quality of life is measured by how much you can eat in front of your computer without gaining weight.

Re:Quality, not quantity (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372724)

Or, you know, strengthen blood vessel walls so strokes don't occur, restore pulmonary tissue so the heart stays strong, improve muscle tone and joints so mobility is retained, stimulate bone growth to protect against osteoporosis.

Yeah, it's all about sitting in front of your computer eating what you want all day long...

Re:Quality, not quantity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372834)

Aww, come on, we read your first post already. What you want is to stuff yourself on the coach and not get your body to punish you for it.

Just stick to the bad analogies, ok?

Re:Quality, not quantity (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372932)

Personally I'd love for my knee and femur to regenerate (if possible.) You obviously have no idea what it feels like to know when bad weather is coming, nor what it feels like to be part-terminator.

When I have to travel, FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372990)

> When I have to travel, FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU

Please be more specific. Is it unpleasant because of the sensation in your leg, or is it unpleasant because your metallic implants send you directly to the "feel-em-up" line of the TSA?

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372996)

And I want new coronary arteries. I had my first heart attack at age 28, had quintuple bypass surgery at age 33, and have just now, aged 42, had a third heart attack and a mere 7 stents installed. But I can't predict the weather! :)

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372752)

For the most part, most of us live long enough. What is necessary is a substantial increase in the quality of our lives, not an increase in the length of it.

Speak for yourself. I want to live forever.

If a therapy can be designed that not only regenerates the major body organs but stimulates the brain as well (and it sounds like this does) then holy, moley - yes please!

Obviously there are big problems with applying this to humans (cancer), but still.

Re:Quality, not quantity (4, Insightful)

soundguy (415780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372922)

Speak for yourself. I want to live forever.

You're a 20-something, aren't you? Come back and say that in another half a century. Life isn't all that "must-have" after a bunch of decades, even if you're in perfect health. The main problem is that after numerous years of life-experience, you start realizing what unbelievable sacks of shit most people truly are. If YOU get to live forever, you're going to have to deal with THEM forever too.

Re:Quality, not quantity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372970)

Takes one to know one?

If you look for certain characteristics in people, you will see them disproportionally to other qualities.

Re:Quality, not quantity (5, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372992)

Speak for yourself. I want to live forever.

You're a 20-something, aren't you? Come back and say that in another half a century. Life isn't all that "must-have" after a bunch of decades, even if you're in perfect health. The main problem is that after numerous years of life-experience, you start realizing what unbelievable sacks of shit most people truly are. If YOU get to live forever, you're going to have to deal with THEM forever too.

You die when you stop enjoying life.

The more I love life, the more beautiful people I meet.

I'm sorry that you lost the love for living.

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373000)

Speak for yourself. I want to live forever.

You're a 20-something, aren't you? Come back and say that in another half a century. Life isn't all that "must-have" after a bunch of decades, even if you're in perfect health. The main problem is that after numerous years of life-experience, you start realizing what unbelievable sacks of shit most people truly are. If YOU get to live forever, you're going to have to deal with THEM forever too.

No, I reckon I could find a way to avoid the Other Humans. For a while, anyway. Particularly age tends to teach survival skills. If you can stay in good physical shape at the same time, living in remote areas may be easier.

See: The grotto of the dancing deer by Clifford Simak.

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373008)

I want to live forever.

      Ahh but you forget trauma and violent death. No one lives forever, even if your body was capable of it. Eventually you will see enough of your friends and loved ones die, and the world will change so much, that you will probably consider suicide.

Re:Quality, not quantity (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372820)

You're an engineer, aren't you?

You go: Well, a lot of our problems come from lack of excercise and bad diet. So... we need to tweak our bodies to no longer be troubled by that.

Personally, I'd prefer to see a social and economic reevaluation, that just plain leaves you more time and resources to live a more healthy life in the first place.

Being able to take the time to do these things the usual way would mean a proportional decrease in stress on top of the healthier living.

So in short: Instead of fixing what is broken, make it so it doesn't break in the first place.

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372828)

That does not solve the problem of aging damage. Even preventatives like exercise have only limited effect on telomere length.

Re:Quality, not quantity (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372946)

"Personally, I'd prefer to see a social and economic reevaluation, that just plain leaves you more time and resources to live a more healthy life in the first place."

Given how prevalent human laziness and greed seems to be on this planet, I think more time and more resources would only lead to an exacerbation of the problem.

And then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372660)

...they got giant tumors and died anyway. The end.

Old news? (1)

thriemus (514728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372666)

Are you saying /. regenerated an old story into a fresh new one?

If we can do it with mice and stories then chances are we will have half the worlds population claiming pensions in no time!!

Do not want (1, Insightful)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372674)

Honestly, i hope they do not succeed in making people live forever, there are already 6 billion of us here, and that number will only increase, and there are only so many mouths we can feed & bodies we can clothe, not to mentioning the possibility of this treatment being reserved for the super rich... Let the people die, it's why we were born in the first place.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372690)

I'd like to thank you on behalf of those of us who want to live forever...making room for the immortals if awfully kind of you.

Re:Do not want (0)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372706)

Nothing lasts forever, not me, not the planet, not the solar system, and not you. Learn to accept your mortality and start to really live.

Re:Do not want (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372718)

That's a bit of a circular argument considering you're arguing against the technology to make something last forever...

Re:Do not want (0)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372756)

I don't consider this to make people to last forever, but 'unnecessarily long'.

Look, i love life, and hope to live to be old enough to see people colonize space, but I'm also realistic enough to know that current population growth is heading straight for disaster, we are 'out-breeding' our ability to be able produce enough food, our main energy source is finite (oil), and our climate seems to be going through changes (i don't care if they're man-made or not), putting more people on this rock with drastically increased lifespans don't seem to be sch a bright idea to me.

Besides, think a bit what it would be like to live forever, it's a nightmare.

Re:Do not want (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372788)

The terrible thing about living forever is it takes so damn long to get there.

Put me in a vat and wake me up every 100 years for 5 years at a time. That's my idea of immortality... Seeing how the world progresses over a millennium.

Then again, I have few emotional ties to this world, so moving on somewhere / somewhen else wouldn't be much of an issue for me. It probably would for someone with relatives / family.

Re:Do not want (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372822)

but I'm also realistic enough to know that current population growth is heading straight for disaster

Not because of long lives, but because of the stupidity and selfishness of many humans who don't think about the future.

putting more people on this rock with drastically increased lifespans don't seem to be sch a bright idea to me.

Perhaps they should be working on a way to reduce the amount of successful births.

Besides, think a bit what it would be like to live forever, it's a nightmare.

Except if it wasn't a nightmare.

Re:Do not want (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372846)

Not because of long lives, but because of the stupidity and selfishness of many humans who don't think about the future.

So what do you propose? Having some sort of forum to decide who gets to live on & who gets to die?
Or limit the availability of the drug to the rich? The politicians? The famous?
Slippery rope....

Perhaps they should be working on a way to reduce the amount of successful births.

And how do you plan to do that? Go the China route & limit everyone to 1 child? Or will you be sterilizing people preventively?

Except if it wasn't a nightmare.

Imagine not growing old, ever, and then contemplate the fact that you can experience all possible experiences for an infinite number of times, it might take a while, but after some time you'll wish you died (the kicker would be off course if at this point you no longer can), the mind grows numb with boredom.

Re:Do not want (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372964)

The obvious choice would be to limit the number of offspring to 1/person (or 2 per woman, since that would be easier). Transgressors could be sentenced to a fine + sterilisation or something. The birth deficit could be handled by auction, lottery, or some queue-based scheme.

Re:Do not want (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372974)

... it might take a while, but after some time you'll wish you died (the kicker would be off course if at this point you no longer can), the mind grows numb with boredom.

I'm pretty sure this shot doesn't prevent a bullet to the brain from being fatal. Accidental death, suicide, and murder will simply become the way people die instead of withering like an over-ripe grape and simply losing the will to live like people do now. I daresay death from old age is NOT one of the top three ways to die today.

Re:Do not want (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373012)

Most people don't even make it to die of old age, i just hope when i go, that i go fast (or on my own terms).

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372918)

I don't consider this to make people to last forever, but 'unnecessarily long'.

What do you consider a necessary duration? And necessary for what? There is no objective purpose to life - people have to ascribe their own subjective meaning - whatever you think is necessary during your own life is you own subjective value judgement and doesn't apply to anyone else.

we are 'out-breeding' our ability to be able produce enough food ... putting more people on this rock with drastically increased lifespans don't seem to be sch a bright idea to me.

This is a potential problem, but it presumes that technology won't be able to keep up with demand. There is mounting economic pressure (which makes all the difference) to create a renewable infrastructure now. It's only a matter of time. The more people there are, the greater the pressure. People would be able to work for longer, and would be under less pressure to have kids early. There is a large degree of self-correction to the situation, but it's one of those difficult to predict scenarios, becuase it's such a collosal global game-changing event.

Besides, think a bit what it would be like to live forever, it's a nightmare.

I honestly have never understood this attitude. People say it, but never give a reason. Why? You say you love life, so when would that change for you? At what point do you become effectively suicidal? Are you anticipating an afterlife?

Re:Do not want (0)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372988)

What do you consider a necessary duration? And necessary for what? There is no objective purpose to life - people have to ascribe their own subjective meaning - whatever you think is necessary during your own life is you own subjective value judgement and doesn't apply to anyone else.

I say, let nature take it's course, there are more important issue's at hand then to postpone the death (whether or not this is permanent or not) of humans isn't one of them.

This is a potential problem, but it presumes that technology won't be able to keep up with demand. There is mounting economic pressure (which makes all the difference) to create a renewable infrastructure now. It's only a matter of time. The more people there are, the greater the pressure. People would be able to work for longer, and would be under less pressure to have kids early. There is a large degree of self-correction to the situation, but it's one of those difficult to predict scenarios, becuase it's such a collosal global game-changing event.

An intelligent species would focus on this issue prior to try & cook up an anti-aging drug.

This fear of death is not healthy, it prevents you to fully enjoy life itself, and that's a shame, because you only get one shot at it.

I honestly have never understood this attitude. People say it, but never give a reason. Why? You say you love life, so when would that change for you? At what point do you become effectively suicidal? Are you anticipating an afterlife?

The fact that life is finite is what makes it precious, it's why you should enjoy as much of it as you can, people often say 'i want to live forever', but they fail to contemplate what forever means, forever means you'll have experienced everything life has to offer an infinite number of times, basically, you'll end up bored out of your skull with nothing to look forward to.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372958)

"we are 'out-breeding' our ability to be able produce enough food"

Says you. I actually work in the field, and we have well more than enough technology, raw seed stock, and modified seed stock, to feed this planet fifty times over for the next twenty generations.

"our main energy source is finite (oil), and our climate seems to be going through changes (i don't care if they're man-made or not),"

These actually pose real problems that we must work upon.

"putting more people on this rock with drastically increased lifespans don't seem to be sch a bright idea to me."

Well, odds are this would only be available to those that could afford it, while the general masses die off. While this leaves a lower population to sustain the planetary population overall, there's also a lower planetary population to handle. Thinking of a worst-case scenario, this would be like giving those hard working and intelligent enough a pass at a super-long life, while eliminating the unwashed masses. That poses another problem, but everything is a problem, and in truth nothing is a total solution.

"Besides, think a bit what it would be like to live forever, it's a nightmare."

I've been dead twice. I think I prefer life, TYVM.

Some cybernetics needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372980)

A purely biological solution can't make humans live forever. Some damage is bound to occur to the genetic copying mechanism even with the cells continually fixing themselves. Somewhere along the way, it would be cheaper to simply transfer the the thing that matters most (the mind or a person's memories) into another body or an android. The parallel is with you continually backing up into bigger and faster media files you made years or decades ago. Still, a more durable body will perhaps lengthen the period between body back-ups.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372984)

>Besides, think a bit what it would be like to live forever, it's a nightmare.

In your eyes, maybe.
I'd rather live forever, suffering any pain imaginable, than think about the most likely outcome of death. (which is probably absolute infinite non-existence, rather than dancing with sky fairies and playing poker with God for the rest of eternity)
That includes losing people i care about, potentially. Who knows, maybe live long enough to reverse time...

However, i certainly do agree with your stance on population problems.
Several solutions are available:
1) make the immortality drug cause infertility, controlled infertility which could be cured pretty easily when we solve resource problems. Immortality, or children?. (morality score out of 10: 2)
2) store some DNA of everyone in banks, ban reproduction. (morality score: 5)
2.1) allow for licence to be purchased to allow for 2, or 4, children. (morality score: 6.5)
3) educate the public against reproduction and spend more time living life to the fullest. Obviously some will choose to have children, but it will certainly limit people having kids since they have forever to make their minds up. (morality score: 9)
3.1) disallow children immortality drug unless paid for. (morality score, 3)

I'd still rather do the vat-thing suggested by L4t3r4lu5 though.

Re:Do not want (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372742)

In that case...thank you as well.

Re:Do not want (3, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372856)

I read a book titled "Mortal Questions", by a philosophy professor named Thomas Nagel. In one of the chapters, he argued part of living is also dying. So to die is to "complete the totality of your existence."

In my own experience, my father was old and sick, and he realized that it was time for him to go. Of course, my sister and I didn't want to accept it, but now when we talk about it, we realize how courageous and humble he was.

When the father of my mother-in-law died, my father-in-law said that it was probably a good thing, because he was old and suffering. He lost a foot in World War II, which caused medical complications throughout his life. My mother-in-law threw a tantrum, and screamed "No one wants to die!"

It's a difficult question, to ask folks if they accept death. Some would answer, When you gotta go, you gotta go!" Others do want to live forever.

I was always impressed when I visited the homes of people from Vietnam. They had a little corner in the room with pictures of ancestors that had died, with incense sticks around.

After our father died, my sister put a lot of work into scanning old slides taken by my father, with his beloved Leica, and burning them on a CD for his grandchildren. If the memory of you is passed on through generations, you do live forever.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372998)

If the memory of you is passed on through generations, you do live forever.

Uh, sorry, but no, you don't. The memory lives on, not the person. If that is important to those who live on is another matter. But please do not confuse the two.

Toutankhamon is not alive. insert dead parrot sketch [youtube.com]

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372930)

Nothing lasts forever, not me, not the planet, not the solar system, and not you. Learn to accept your mortality and start to really live.

Hell, not even cold November rain.

Re:Do not want (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372876)

death is the only thing that prevents humans from creating greater damage than they already do. death regulates us.

it would be nice if our culture was less afraid of death and started to accept it - it's natural and part of everything. not that one should kill himself or suffer, or things like that, but eventually we all do die. in other civilizations death was not something they would fear, and they would live more happily regarding this.

Re:Do not want (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372906)

death is the only thing that prevents humans from creating greater damage than they already do. death regulates us.

it would be nice if our culture was less afraid of death and started to accept it - it's natural and part of everything. not that one should kill himself or suffer, or things like that, but eventually we all do die. in other civilizations death was not something they would fear, and they would live more happily regarding this.

True, i don't want to be mourned when i finally get slammed into the furnace, i want my life to be celebrated with food & booze and music (heck, even get some hookers!), remember people for their life, not their death (unless it was a spectacular death).

Re:Do not want (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372948)

it would be nice if our culture was less afraid of death and started to accept it - it's natural and part of everything.

Earthquakes, typhoons, disease, tornados, etc. are natural. And yet, like death, we generally prefer to avoid them. Like it or not we seem to be approaching "Actuarial Escape Velocity," in which life expectancy is extended more rapidly than we age. You and I might not make it, but there's a reasonably good chance that we will be one of the last generations to die of natural causes.

Re:Do not want (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373014)

death is the only thing that prevents humans from creating greater damage than they already do.

Regardless, we'd breed more of the same (look at North Korea, Iran or even the US). Death or no death, humans do what humans do. I for one see ageing as unnatural. Growing, yes, but ageing is something we should be able to cure.

Re:Do not want (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373020)

it would be nice if our culture was less afraid of death and started to accept it

It would also solve a lot of other problems, like trying to save each and every live at the cost of being able to live.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372962)

I'd like to thank you on behalf of those of us who want to live forever...

Sarah Palin... immortal... Is anybody working on a warp drive? Need any help? I want to move to another solar system.

Re:Do not want (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372704)

all of this has already been anticipated. The Harvard people are closing in on a substance called boosterspice. It stops people from aging. Next will come what will be known as birthright lottery. It will control the population number while at the same time breeding lucky people.

The only downside will be that you will not be allowed to breed unless you are super smart or super athletic or artistic. However this will not be a problem for most slashdotters since we weren't gonna breed anyways.

Besides, where in your country's constitution is it written that all citizens are guarenteed the right to breed?

Re:Do not want (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372738)

where in your country's constitution is it written that all citizens are guarenteed the right to breed?

The 10th Amendment.

Re:Do not want (2, Interesting)

Polumna (1141165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372790)

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1.

If there's an immortality tax of "100% of your fertility" you can sign me up. (Though, if impotence and fertility are not fully separated by the IRS, I'll have some thinking to do.) :P

Re:Do not want (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372882)

Well, I don't wanna make babies, I just wanna fuck. That should work with immortality right?!

Re:Do not want (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372744)

> there are already 6 billion of us here, and that number will only increase, and there are only so many mouths we can feed & bodies we can clothe

Sword sales could be dramatically increased, though, accompanied by epic duels in various places around the world.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372860)

My god that could make for an interesting movie.

Simple solution (3, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372748)

Only give this to people who do not have sex and therefor no offspring. Slashdot will LIVE FOREVER!!!

And the living will envy the death (because they got some).

Re:Simple solution (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372792)

:D You just made my monday ;)

Re:Do not want (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372776)

dont worry, only the rich will be able to live forever.

Re:Do not want (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372954)

And that's as it should be. What have the poor done for ME lately?

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372844)

there are only so many mouths we can feed & bodies we can clothe

Three cheers for more skinny naked people

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372862)

Honestly, i hope they do not succeed in making people live forever, there are already 6 billion of us here, and that number will only increase, and there are only so many mouths we can feed & bodies we can clothe, not to mentioning the possibility of this treatment being reserved for the super rich... Let the people die, it's why we were born in the first place.

I agree, this would be bad for evolution and the human race as a whole.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372924)

I'll thank you for not speaking on my behalf. I'll take an age reversing injection to go please.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34373004)

As someone with MS in the family I think you're one hell of an insensitive clod.

It won't necessarily help humans - or normal mice (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372678)

Mice bread without an enzyme age prematurely. Injecting them with the enzyme reversed this process. This does not necessarily mean that injecting normal mice with more of the enzyme will have any affect on their ageing.

Re:It won't necessarily help humans - or normal mi (2, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372762)

MMmmmmm. Mice bread.

Goes well with cheese.

Re:It won't necessarily help humans - or normal mi (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372852)

Mice bread

It stops squeaking and struggling after a minute or two in the toaster. The fur might get stuck in your teeth, though.

Re:It won't necessarily help humans - or normal mi (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372892)

If scientists can breed humans with mice, creating mice-men, this idea has potential. I think Monty Python even did a skit on this, where perverts dressed up as mice, and went to parties, where they "squeaked" and passed cheese around.

Definitely an idea that is worthy of a Hollywood B film.

If the mice bread experiments go wrong, we can always pop them into the toaster.

Using old mice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372688)

They enginered mice without the enzyme in question then reintorduced it - why not also try it on old mice???? Or would that not have resulted in the 'headline' (read grant money).

Re:Using old mice? (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372916)

They were impatient

See that all the time (3, Funny)

josgeluk (842109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372700)

It was probably the unexpected attention that the elderly mice got, that made them feel happy and youthful. That, and a placebo effect.

This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (3, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372708)

Cells do not normally produce telomerase on their own because not producing it protects against cancer. Turning on the gene that makes telomerase is one of the hurdles pre-cancerous cells have to cross on their way to becoming cancerous.

Also, as someone else pointed out, telomeres are just one aspect of aging. You can induce mice to age prematurely by restricting embryonic expression of telomerase, but that doesn't necessarily mean that mice that age normally will be similarly completely restored by adding it.

There are a number of degenerative diseases (macular degeneration and probably alzheimers) that happen because of inadequate waste removal. No amount of telomerase is going to cause all the little protein fragments lying around to be magically cleaned up and excreted.

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372758)

Typical, a programmer is taking a stab at the biology topic and the tone is very decisive. Next time at least act as an informed observer, using in some low-key phrases, words like "perhaps" or "maybe" when taking outside of your field. Thank you very much.

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372802)

*chuckle* Is there anything about this that's wrong? Biology, particularly low-level biochemistry is an area of science that I pay a lot of attention to.

Though, I also take your point, and I will try to have a less decisive tone in the future. I've noticed that people tend to be less questioning than they should of "The Voice Of Authority", and so it's something I try to only use when I'm nearly certain I'm right. But you are correct that this isn't my field and so I should take that into account.

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372830)

Oh, and another good time to use "The Voice Of Authority" is when everyone is milling around and it's really urgent that something be done right now, and I'm pretty sure that the course of action I have in mind is at least better than doing nothing. But that crops up quite rarely.

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372838)

What about RTFAs ?
Both of them discuss the link between telomerase and cancer...

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372884)

I did RTFA, but I guess I just read it to confirm that they were indeed playing with telomerase in the way I expected from the summary. So I missed the bit about cancer.

Since a majority of Slashdotters don't RTFA, I think mentioning an important fact that was in the articles isn't bad, and I added some information that wasn't in the articles.

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372836)

I didn't study much of biology, so there may be obvious things I'm missing.

BUT

If we can turn it on and off again, isn't this a step towards curing cancerous cells? (Telling them to self-terminate, or at least limiting their tree of spawned cells?)

At least it is proof that we can manipulate the cells at that level, now just to work on the side effects...

Re:This treatment may not work, might be dangerous (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372914)

Well, I'm not a biologist, but I do pay a lot of attention to low-level biochemistry articles that come out in various places...

These mice were genetically engineered to make expression of telomerase contingent on the presence of another enzyme. This means that a switch was added in mice, not that a switch was found in mice that could be used in humans.

I don't think a cancer treatment lies hidden in here, but I do think a regeneration treatment is possible.

There are numerous classes of stem cells stored throughout the body. One possible treatment is to find these stores, take a few healthy, non-cancerous, non-DNA damaged cells out of them, treat them with telomerase in-vitro and put the cells with restored telomeres back in the appropriate spots.

Hopefully the cells with short telomeres would slowly die off over time and the cells with longer telomeres would replace them, and since these cells are the source of new cells for various tissues in the body, it would have the effect of resetting the 'telomere clock' for the whole body.

I have no clue if this would work. As I said, I'm not a biologist. But it seems plausible to me.

Live forever, or die trying (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372976)

Maybe it is dangerous, but if you get to (say) 80+ and can only look forward to a few more years with increasing incontinence and decreasing memory (which may even make up for the incontinence) then it's got to be worth a shot. After all, it's not as if you have much to lose. Though your relatives might not appreciate the loss of any expected inheritance, and the nursing homes have a vested interest in it failing, and the whole pension / insurance industry will go broke overnight. However, if it means I could live to be 200, all that's a small price to pay.

Re:Live forever, or die trying (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34373010)

I think a regeneration treatment is possible with minimal risk. I wrote about it in a different Slashdot reply [slashdot.org] .

Just what we needed (2, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372710)

the Dick Cheneys of the world living to 140...

Re:Just what we needed (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372782)

ooooh noooooos

Reactivating Telomerase? (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372716)

Seriously not a good idea. I, personally, would not like a body-wide cancer.

Call me back when nanites are developed far enough to repair tissue damage!

zombie mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372734)

... you have been warned

Title wrong (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372760)

Isn't this more like: "Scientists reverse artificially induced ageing in mice by re-introducing the enzyme that they deactivated to induce the ageing in the first place"?

Will introducing more telomerase to into naturally ageing patients cause reversal in cell damage or cancer?

Aging reversed? (1)

El Neepo (411885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372764)

Sounds like they simply corrected a disease that was purposefully inflicted upon the mice. I don't see this as "Aging reversed" more like "Abnormally quick aging can be corrected."

I believe the end of the Nature article link agrees. It also points out that shortening telomeres isn't the only thing that causes aging and it's defects.

That said, this is a good baby step forward.

will it make you more stupid too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372786)

i am not sure i said an intelligent thing until age 30.

This should be called fast-aging cancelled. (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372796)

Actually Aging was not reversed. It was made faster in the first place. And then telomerase was added, and aging was normal again.

It's nice. But sometimes it is deactivated for a reason. To stop aging we would have to stop mutating cells. Our cells still would have to divide. Our braincells would still be more or less limited. So we would have to control our tumours while getting more stupid. The biblical 120 max won't be broken any time soon.

Still, such a news is incredible in a scientific perspective. But for potions of life, please consider your local alchemist or any grail you might find.

I just want ... (1)

preflex (1840068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372800)

I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.

Then the immortals ascended to the heavans (4, Interesting)

t0qer (230538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372832)

While I see some folks saying "no one should live forever" let me ask you this... What about space travelers? Don't you think on 100+ year trips, living forever might be a good thing?

Man, (1)

waltew (764415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372842)

So we are the last generations that will die. That's just great...

Already been done with dolphins (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372850)

They've already done this with dolphins. It involves feeding them seagulls. Unfortunately, the lead scientist was arrested when he stepped across a lion sleeping in the doorway to the lab, after catching a few seagulls.

The charge: transporting gulls across a staid lion for immortal porpoises.

Mark Edwards

And in other news... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372858)

The stock price of the Umbrella Corporation was up 36 points amid heavy trading as the markets opened this morning...

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372908)

Umbrela's overvalued. Here's a protip -- buy Union Aerospace instead.

Red Mars gene therapy (1)

flurdy (301431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372864)

So is this the first steps towards the gene therapies in Red Mars books? Finally!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_trilogy [wikipedia.org]

yoU fail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34372894)

Resident Evil (1)

cloakedpegasus (1761746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372938)

T-Virus

A book (1)

rrey (1886420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372942)

Reminds me a book dealing with the subject of regeneration : "Rollback" Robert J. Sawyer

Kick ass (1)

morikahnx (1323841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372952)

Hey, if this keeps my younger.. longer and adds 100 years to my life.. kick ass. You spend half your life figuring what the hell you are doing... then you spend the other half slowly withering away. I want Leslie Nielson back, dammit!

Just in time.... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34372982)

Just in time to rescue the Most Valuable Generation, the Baby Boomers!

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