"This study represents a milestone in our efforts to understand how mammalian longevity is determined," said Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, discoverer of the aging process in human cells and the man for whom the Hayflick Limit is named. "The oocyte [egg cell] apparently is the rejuvenating environment that makes babies young."
Medical science has long sought a means to turn back the aging clock by returning old cells to their earliest stages of development. If this can be accomplished it will then be possible to regenerate cells and tissues for the repair of age-related disease. The results of previous research indicated that even cloned cells retained the aging clock of the clone donor. For example, scientists that used an alternative cloning technique to create Dolly the cloned sheep that has been so prominently featured in the media, reported that she was actually aging faster and that her cellular aging clock had not been reset by the cloning process.
Today's report in the journal Science describes the cloning of six calves generated from cells at the end of their lifespan. "The old cells were not merely returned to a youthful state. Remarkably, they were actually given a longer life span than those from normal animals," said Dr. Robert P. Lanza , MD, Vice President of Medical and Scientific Development at ACT and first author of the report. The cloned animals, one of which is celebrating her first birthday this week, have telomeres that look like newborn calves despite the fact that they were cloned from senescent cells.
"Our results show that cloning actually has the potential to reverse the aging of cells," said Dr. Lanza. "This has profound implications for treating age-related disease and for understanding the actual mechanisms behind the aging process."
The company's scientific objective in applying cloning to human medicine is to create human stem cell
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