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Breakthrough of stem cell: rejuvenate aging cells

Recently, researchers from the "genome reprogramming and aging" group at the institute of functional genomics, national institutes of health, France, successfully reprogrammed donor cells from centenarians in vitro into highly active induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). It has been proved that all cells have acquired the ability of redifferentiation after this "active plasticity" treatment. These results mark another breakthrough in iPSC research and an important step forward in regenerative medicine. The research was published in the journal Genes&Developmen on November 1st.

Since 2007, many research groups around the world have successfully reprogrammed human adult cells to produce iPSC, which shows similar characteristics and differentiation potential to hESC. This reprogramming technique, which bypasses the ethical limitations of using embryonic stem cells, having hope to obtain all cell types in the human body for use in individualized therapies. Until now, however, cellular senescence has been a major obstacle for scientists trying to apply the technology to elderly patients.

In the new paper, a team of researchers led by jean-marc Lemaitre tackles the problem. Researchers have successfully rejuvenated cells from elderly donors, some of whom are over 100 years old, confirming that the process of cellular aging is reversible.

6 genetic factors cocktail method

To achieve this, the researchers developed a 6 genetic factors "cocktail" strategy. The so-called "cocktail" of 6 genetic factors is to add two new genetic factors, namely NANOG and LIN28, on the basis of the four original genetic factors (OCT4, SOX2, C MYC and KLF4) of shinya yamanaka. The researchers confirmed that after the "cocktail" treatment of these six genetic factors, senescent cells reprogrammed to form functional ipscs, regained the potential to differentiate into all human cell types, and displayed physiological characteristics similar to those of "young" cells in terms of cell proliferation and metabolism.

The donor’s age extends to 100 years old

The researchers first studied fibroblasts from a 74-year-old man. In a follow-up study, the team further tested donor cells from 92, 94, 96, and up to 101 years old, and it gained the approximately same results.

"Our technique can be applied to donor cells over 100 years old, suggesting that cell age is by not a barrier at all to reprogramming," Lemaitre said. "this research paves the way for the use of iPS cells to repair damaged organs or tissues in elderly patients."
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