Youthful stem cell injections triple lifespan in mice

It's a good day to be a mouse with a premature aging disease, as researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have discovered that injecting old mice with a bunch of young stem cells can double or triple their lifespans.

To try and figure out why aging sucks so much and how to fix it, researchers gave mice progeria, which is a disease where animals (and humans) begin to exhibit the signs of old age (like loss of hair, loss of muscle and joint stiffness). Then, they injected the progeria mice with progenitor stem cells from healthy and happy and active young mice. They didn't try to inject specific types of stem cells into specific organs or anything, they just a pumped a bunch of them directly into the abdomens of the mice. And the thing is, it worked: mice who received the injections lived two to three times longer and behaved much more like normal mice, exhibiting fewer age-related symptoms.

The crazy part (and it's seriously crazy) is that as far as the researchers could tell, the stems cells didn't go anywhere or do anything specific. For example, the progeria mice started growing new blood vessels to feed their muscle and brain tissue, even though no stem cells were detected in those tissues. What this could mean is that stem cells are secreting molecules or proteins or something that help to forestall the aging process, and if we can figure out what this stuff is, it may be possible to develop generalized anti-aging juice that you could inject yourself with from time to time to live to age 200 or so. My suggestion: put this research on Kickstarter ASAP.

UPMC, via Eurekalert

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