Have scientist’s figured out how to make skin cell’s younger?

There have been recent headlines saying scientists have discovered how to make skin cells younger.
Sounds fabulous, but what does this actually mean?
The science of cell rejuvenation and epigenetic’s is cutting edge and constantly advancing. While you may think it’s all about stopping the ageing process for appearance reasons, this is far from true. The results of our ageing genetic material are seen in many different degenerative diseases – like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, neurological conditions etc etc.
In this recently reported study, they used iPSC – which means “Induced pluripotent stem cell” – that is, a process where any cell can be converted into an embryonic stem cells. These are the cells that are present at the beginning of a life, and gradual change and develop into all the various types of body cells we have as we grow.
So basically this process is reversing the age of the cell it effects. An early form of this process was used on “Dolly” the sheep – the first mammal cloned from an adult sheep cell in 1996.
SO – if a partial iPSC reprogramming approach was possible in human cells (where you could get reversal of ageing damage, but preservation of the cells “adult” function), it would be possible to develop new disease treatments.
It was a partial iPSC technique (stopping the iPSC process part way along) that researchers applied here to middle-aged skin cells. According to molecular measures they found that the cells did start to function up to 40 years younger. They tested functions such as collagen production and wound healing. Of course, this is all in the lab, in a dish, and only a limited number of cell functions were measured. It may not reflect how the cells would behave in the body. Dr. Milagre who was involved in the study, says that some of the techniques used to create this change may actually be harmful in people.
Really, this research just shows that, in principle, it may be possible to affect such changes. VERY preliminary! Some specialists in the area say it’s too early to take it too seriously, but iPSC research is some of the most important going on in the medical field.
So, watch this space, but don’t start changing your superannuation plans yet. And for our skin health, it’s back to all the good home care and treatments we have to boost the function of the cells we have now!


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