In a new study, researchers have discovered a new cause of aging in cells.
The work could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.
It potentially paves the way for better cancer treatments and revolutionary new drugs that could vastly improve human health.
The research was conducted by a team from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
In the study, the team wanted to study the reasons cells age and then design treatments for better aging.
They focused on a natural process in which cells permanently stop creating new cells.
This process is one of the key causes of age-related decline, manifesting in diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Cells in the process are effectively the opposite of stem cells, which have an unlimited potential for self-renewal or division.
But aged cells can never divide again. It’s an irreversible state of cell cycle arrest.
The research team discovered that these aged cells stopped producing a class of chemicals that are the building blocks of DNA.
When they took young cells and forced them to stop producing the chemicals, they became aged.
This means that the production of the chemicals is essential to keep cells young.
It also means that if we could prevent cells from losing the chemical synthesis, the cells might age more slowly.
The team now is examining the aging process in epithelial cells, the cells that line the surfaces of the organs and structures in the body and the type of cells in which most cancers arise.
According to them, the aging process is most widely known as the body’s protective barrier against cancer:
When cells sustain damage that could be at risk of developing into cancer, they enter into this aging process and stop proliferating so that cancer does not develop and spread.
The aging process is a double-edged sword. It protects against cancer, but it also promotes diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and general tissue dysfunction.
The team hopes to find a way to remove aged cells in the body to promote healthy aging and better function, but not to completely prevent the aging process.
The leader of the study is Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Nick Graham.
The study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
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