Could Stem Cell Transplants Extend Human Life?

Researchers at the University of Kentucky report an intriguing finding in mice that one day might offer a way to extend human life spans.

The researchers examined bone marrow stem cells from several different strains of genetically modified mice. The researchers bred the mice, examining which mice had bone marrow stem cells that were the best at resisting cell damage. In this way they were able to identify that part of the mouse genome responsible for the strongest stem cells.

That turned out to be a specific gene on a chromose that had previously been lnked to longevity in mice.

The next step for the researchers will be to create genetically modified strains of mice that have extremely strong stem cells in order to see if it increases their longevity. Researcher Gary van Zant told the BBC, “We hope to show that by making stem cells more hardy we can extend the life span (of mice).”

If they do indeed find further evidence for a connection between strong stem cells and longevity, then this finding might have applications in extending human life span.

Source:

Cell transplants ‘could lengthen lives’. The BBC, July 19, 2002.

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