This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Did You Know? By tweaking a gene, scientists have been able to reverse brain disease and restored the sense of smell and fertility in prematurely aged mice that had dysfunctional telomeres. These mice were equivalent to an 80-year-old human and with this procedure it made them the equivalent of young adults. Other methods have been used in the past on aging such as calorie restriction, but this only slows it down. The experiment done at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, focused on the enzyme telomerase but this is only one of the different stimuli that contribute to the aging process. One drawback of the telomerase gene, is its link to cancer tumors.
The next step for researchers is to try this technique on normally aged mice.
Published in Nature, 469 102–106 (06 January 2011),
Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in
aged telomerase-deficient mice.
Aging Ills Reversed in Mice
in The Wall Street Journal, by Gautam Naik, Nov. 28, 2010.