The study showed that the experimental treatment regenerates cells in mice, helping them live longer, while reducing weakness and promoting healthy heart and lungs.

Harvard-backed anti-aging scientists hope the “exciting” findings will open the door to treating humans in the same way, boosting their resilience against diseases such as cancer and dementia by making them biologically younger, reports Al-Rai daily.

Experts believe that it is quite possible to put a similar drug on the market by 2028. “We could easily see something in humans in the next five years with this technology,” said Dr. Noah Davidson, chief scientist at Rejuvenate Bio, the company behind the study that was released from a Harvard Medical School lab.

The researchers pointed out that extending human life has historically meant relying on medication and adopting healthy habits. However, this does not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of years of healthy life – older people continue to suffer from age-related diseases, over a slightly longer period of time.

But reversing age would, in theory, reverse the effects of aging at a cellular level, increasing lifespan and the number of healthy years of life. Cells age over time by acquiring genetic changes, some of which damage them. To see if this could be achieved, the team studied mice that were 124 weeks old — the equivalent of a person around 77 years old.

Every two weeks, half of the mice were given a dummy injection, while the other half were injected with the treatment — a modified virus carrying extra bits of genetic code.

The mice that received the treatment produced Yamanaka factors — a group of proteins that have been used since the mid-2000s to reverse the aging of cells, effectively returning them to a ‘youthful’ state.

She was also given an antibiotic, doxycycline — which activated the Yamanaka Factors.

The results, published on bioRxiv ahead of print, showed that the mice that received the treatment lived another 18.5 weeks, 142.5 weeks in total. In addition to living longer, the mice injected with pieces of genetic code stayed healthy for longer, according to the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Results showed that they scored lower on impairment tests, while their heart and liver health were also enhanced.

The researchers said this indicates an “increased lifespan associated with an improvement in the general health of the animals”.

In a separate experiment, human skin cells were subjected to gene therapy. The results showed that the cells looked younger after the treatment, suggesting that the treatment could “reverse biomarkers of aging in human cells.”

Overall, the findings provide “cautious optimism” that “rejuvenation therapy can be safely delivered to humans,” the researchers said.

However, they point out that large animal studies are the next step needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of this approach.

Dr. Steven Ostad, a aging researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Science the findings could be a “breakthrough”.

However, he noted, it will first need to be replicated in larger, broader studies.

Professor Ilaria Bellantuino, co-director of the Institute for Healthy Longevity at the University of Sheffield, said the reduction in impairment rates among treated mice was encouraging.

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