Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. today reported the successful reversal of the aging process in cells. The company's breakthrough may be the path to successful use of therapeutic cloning techniques to cure some of humankind's most intransigent age-related and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes, as well as heart, liver and kidney disease.
Today's report was published in the journal Science (April 28, 2000), and was titled Extension of Cell Lifespan and Telomere Length in Animals Cloned from Senescent Somatic Cells, by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and its collaborators. Prior to publication the journal requires that articles be checked by independent researchers through a scientific peer review process.
Dr. Michael D. West, a pioneer in telomere research and the President and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, said, "With this research we have shown that it may eventually be possible to improve the quality of life for millions of people. In the U.S. alone, over 64 thousand patients are currently awaiting organ transplantation, and a new name is added to the waiting list every 18 minutes. In addition to patients with heart, liver, and kidney disease, over 16 million patients worldwide suffer from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Over 140 million patients suffer from diabetes, and millions more from other diseases that may one day be treatable using these new technologies."
In the report, the researchers describe how they used a new cloning technology to literally rewind the aging clock in cells. Virtually all types of body cells, except reproductive cells, contain this aging clock. It consists of a strand of DNA on the end of all chromosomes. These ends are called telomeres and every time a cell divides some of this tail is used up. We thus eventually run out the aging clock until the cells in our bodies stop dividing. This cellular aging phenomenon is known a
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