New Gene Therapy Treatment Increases Mice Life Span 24 Percent

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May 15 2012 1:45 PM

New Gene Therapy Treatment Increases Mice Life Span 24 Percent

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A new gene therapy has increased the lifespan of mice 24 percent.

Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

The fountain of youth may be only a gene therapy treatment away.

Scientists have successfully extended the life span of mice up to 24 percent with a single treatment of gene therapy. Studies have shown it's possible to lengthen the life span of mammals by acting on specific genes, but that was limited to gene alteration in the embryonic stage. By inducing cells to produce telomerase, the enzyme that effectively slows down the biological clock by repairing the tips of a cell's chromosomes, the study "shows that it is possible to develop a telomerase-based anti-aging gene therapy without increasing the incidence of cancer."

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While aging itself is not considered a disease, the treatment could help fight insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in older patients. The big question is, when can we get it in over-the-counter form, for three easy payments of $19.99?

 

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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