The study, by British, German and Portuguese scientists at the Babraham Institute of Epigenetics in Cambridge, was published in the scientific journal eLife on Friday. It is based on the same cell reprogramming technique used to create cloned sheep dolly at Roslin in the UK in the 1990s.
Yet at an early stage, research promises to revolutionize regenerative medicine. “We can identify specific genes that are regenerating without replicating the cell,” says Wolf Reich, the study’s lead author.
One of the tools for repairing or replacing damaged cells is the ability to convert stem cells into specific cells.
Stem cells appear at the beginning of the embryo and can transform into all kinds of tissues in the human body. In the laboratory, however, only certain types, such as skin cells or fibroblasts, were republished. In 2007, after learning how to clone dolly, scientist Shinya Yamanaka transformed normal cells into stem cells, which could transform into any type of cell in a very short time. The process took 50 days and used molecules called Yamanaka factors.
Scientists at the Babraham Institute have developed a new method. Of these, fibroblasts were exposed to factors for only 13 days. Thus, they lost the aging markers, but maintained the functions of skin cells such as collagen production.
Then they looked for changes in the aging markers – some chemical and genetic traits. By these measurements, the observed cell resembled a 23-year-old adolescent, both in appearance and function.
For now, this technique cannot be clinically tested because it increases the risk of cancer. But with the advancement of technology, scientists say it could be used to improve the quality of life of the elderly. Information from the newspaper. State of So Paulo.
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