Scientists revealed on Tuesday that they have been successful in transforming age-worn cells in people over 90 — including a centenarian — into rejuvenated stemcells that were “indistinguishable” from those found in embryos.
This technical feat opens a new path toward regenerative medicine, especially for the elderly, the researchers said.
“This is a new paradigm for cell rejuvenation,” said Jean-Marc Lemaitre, a researcher at the Institute of Functional Genomics at the University of Montpellier and the main architect of the study.
“The age of cells is definitely not a barrier to reprogramming,” he told AFP by phone.
That human embryonic stem cells (ESC) can potentially become any type of cell in the body has long held out the tantalizing promise of diseased organs or tissue being repaired or replaced with healthy, lab-grown cells.
The technical feat was reported in the peer-reviewed journal Genes & Development.
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