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Researchers say they’re a step closer to extending lifespan

  • University of Rochester: Transfer of longevity gene is ‘groundbreaking’
  • The transfer led to an increase in the average lifespan of the mice
  • Researcher: ‘Our next goal is to transfer this benefit to humans’

FILE – A technician holds a laboratory mouse at the Jackson Laboratory, Jan. 24, 2006, in Bar Harbor, Maine. The lab ships more than two million mice a year to qualified researchers. Eight years ago, a team of researchers launched a project to carefully repeat influential lab experiments in cancer research. They recreated 50 experiments, the type of work with mice and test tubes that sets the stage for new cancer drugs. They reported the results Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021: About half the scientific claims didn’t hold up. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(NewsNation) — Researchers at the University of Rochester transferred a longevity gene from naked mole rats to mice, calling it a “groundbreaking endeavor.”

According to the University of Rochester, naked mole rats have long captured the attention of scientists for their lengthy lifespans and resistance to age-related diseases.

Biologists at the university introduced a specific gene responsible for enhanced cellular repair and protection into mice, which they say may be a step toward unlocking the secrets of aging and potentially extending human lifespan. The gene is responsible for making high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) and improved the health of the mice, leading to an approximate 4.4% increase in median lifespan.

“It took us 10 years from the discovery of HMW-HA in the naked mole rat to showing that HMW-HA improves health in mice,” said Vera Gorbunova, the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of biology and medicine at Rochester. “Our next goal is to transfer this benefit to humans.”

The researchers previously learned that HMW-HA is also one mechanism responsible for the unusual resistance naked mole rats have to cancer. Their latest study was published in Nature.

Science News

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