[ExI] Californian boffins find Elixir of Eternal Youth

David C. Harris dharris234 at mindspring.com
Wed Jun 18 23:28:06 UTC 2008

The source of the article below is at
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/16/californian_immortality_research/ .

This seems to be further understanding of the process that was
demonstrated by cross-connecting the blood vessels of various aged mice,
which found that old mice receiving young factors healed more rapidly.
The Research Channel web site has video on demand of the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute Holiday Lectures on aging (and related things) that
describes the young-helps-old transfusion experiment. That lecture
mentioned the Notch gene.

Anyone know how to get the Nature article before it appears at my local

Stefano Vaj wrote:
> "Boffins" in inglese inglese vuol dire "scienziati"...
>     Californian boffins find Elixir of Eternal Youth
>       For mice only. Catherine Zeta Jones not involved
> By Lewis Page
> <http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/06/16/californian_immortality_research/>
> → More by this author
> <http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Lewis%20Page>
> Published Monday 16th June 2008 09:56GMT
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Mouse-molesting boffins in California have used biochemical signals to
> rejuvenate elderly, knackered bodily tissues in a fashion normally
> only achievable by youngsters. However, the scientists insist that
> they have not yet achieved an immortality drug, and if they had it
> would only be for mice.
> "We're not at a point where we're ready to inject ourselves with [this
> stuff]" said Dr Morgan Carlson.
> Carlson's research was overseen by Irina Conboy, associate prof at UC
> Berkeley. There doesn't seem to be any doubt that the two boffins are
> in fact looking for an immortality drug: Conboy has described her
> research
> <http://www.citris-uc.org/system/files?file=conboy_stem_cell_aging.pdf>
> as "Pathways to the Fountain of Youth".
> The long-sought elixir of eternal life may not yet be in our grasp,
> but Conboy and Carlson have managed something promising enough to get
> them published in /Nature/, perhaps the most prestigious boffinry journal.
> It seems that when we're young, the stem cells in our bodies
> constantly repair and reinvigorate us. When we get old, this stops
> happening and pretty soon people are going through your stuff.
> "We don't realize it, but as we grow our bodies are constantly being
> remodeled," according to Conboy. "We are constantly falling apart, but
> we don't notice it much when we're young because we're always being
> restored. As we age, our stem cells are prevented, through chemical
> signals, from doing their jobs."
> Apparently one can revitalise stem cells by putting them in the right
> chemical environment. "When old tissue is placed in an environment of
> young blood, the stem cells behave as if they are young again,"
> according to the Berkeley press release - in a process not unlike that
> undergone by wrinkly old Hollywood stars placed in an environment of
> Catherine Zeta Jones.
> Essentially, the Californian researchers were able to persuade muscle
> tissues in some mice that they were young again. We didn't entirely
> follow how they did it.
> "Interestingly, activated Notch competes with activated pSmad3 for
> binding to the regulatory regions of the same CDK inhibitors in the
> stem cell," said Professor Conboy.
> That certainly is interesting.
> "We found that Notch is capable of physically kicking off pSmad3 from
> the promoters for the CDK inhibitors within the stem cell's nucleus,
> which" - as any fool would realise - "tells us that a precise
> manipulation of the balance of these pathways would allow the ability
> to control stem cell responses."
> Diddling with Notch and pSmad3 levels using "an established method of
> RNA interference" allowed Conboy and Carlson to manipulate TGF-beta
> proteins and fire up the dormant stem cells of a group of elderly mice.
> The octogenarian murines "showed levels of cellular regeneration that
> were comparable to their much younger peers", apparently. But people
> shouldn't just start swigging down Notch, pSmad3 and TGF-beta at
> random. Cellular regeneration, out of hand, is sometimes just another
> name for cancer.
> Still, the Californian brainboxes seem cautiously optimistic.
> "When we are young, there is an optimal balance between Notch and
> TGF-beta," according to Conboy. "We need to find out what the levels
> of these chemicals are in the young so we can calibrate the system
> when we're older. If we can do that, we could rejuvenate tissue repair
> for a very long time."
> One thing's for sure - all this could have serious consequences for
> the mighty Japanese robotics industry, currently tooling up to make
> billions looking after the increasingly wrinkly populace of the Land
> of the Rising Sun. The Berkeley elixir-of-youth researchers had best
> watch their backs.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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David Harris, Palo Alto, California.
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