symbolset (646467) writes "Published today in the journal Cell and reported by WBUR radio in this interview Drs Richard Lee and Amy Wagers have isolated GDF-11 as a negative regulator of age-associated cardiac hypertrophy. Through a type of transfusion called parabiotic or "shared circulation" in mice — one old and sick, the other young and well — they managed to reverse this age-associated heart disease. From there isolated an active agent GDF-11 present in the younger mouse but absent in the older which reverses the condition when administered directly. They are also using the agent to restore other aged/diseased tissues and organs. Human applications are expected within six years.
Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, someone is likely to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer. It may be time to have the discussion of the consequences of drastically prolonging human life."
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