- Scientists used a study in mice to show that it is possible to reverse age-related decline in vision.
- The team used the genes present during embryo development to give the mice a kind of stimulus and it proved effective.
- It may be possible to use a similar technique in humans, although more research is needed before such tests can take place.
Scientists have made some great advances in the field of age-related disease, but actually going back in time on a living creature’s DNA remains an elusive Holy Grail. We know that DNA gradually degrades as a person ages. We see that the damage caused by aging and various age-related diseases tends to appear the older a person gets and the more his genes degrade.
Now, Harvard Medical School researchers appear to have taken a big leap forward in reversing aging in mice. More specifically, the researchers managed to revitalize the vision of aging mice by giving them a boost using genes that are present during early development.
Best deal of the day from BGR
FDA-cleared Powecom KN95 masks that block 99% of viruses and small particles cost $ 45 / box – now $ 22.31 on Amazon! Price:$ 24.31 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
As the researchers explain in a new paper published in Nature, the work focused on glaucoma-induced vision degradation in mice. The team used a virus to target the retinas of mice using a trio of what are described as ‘youth-restoring genes’. These genes, Oct4, Sox2, and Klf4, are said to be active when the mouse embryos are developing.
This, the researchers say, caused a dramatic reversal of the age-related vision problems the mice were experiencing. It “promoted nerve regeneration,” also reversing the glaucoma-like condition in the animals that were afflicted with it. For mice with age-related vision loss without glaucoma, the effect was similar and the mice regained the vision they had previously lost.
“Our study demonstrates that it is possible to safely reverse the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore its youthful biological function,” David Sinclair, senior author of the study, said in a statement. “If confirmed through further studies, these findings could be transformative for the treatment of age-related vision diseases such as glaucoma and for the fields of biology and medical therapy for the disease in general.”
As impressive as the findings were, the researchers caution that they should be replicated in future studies if further progress is to be made using these genes to reverse vision loss in other animals, including humans. It’s promising, but it’s definitely not ready for human testing yet.
“At the start of this project, many of our colleagues said our approach would fail or be too dangerous to use,” explained lead author Yuancheng Lu. “Our results suggest that this method is safe and could be used. potentially revolutionize the treatment of the eye and many other organs affected by aging. “