The highly craved “youth elixir” might be closer to reality than we expected according to George Church, a researcher at the Harvard Medicine School. George Church works along with a team of more than 100 scientists to solve one of the most serious problems of mankind: genetic diseases, aging and vulnerability to viruses. However it appears that we’re relatively closed to solving all these problems.
The most interesting thing Church talked about during the “60 Minutes” show on CBS NEws was aging. He says that his team of researchers have already managed to make lab rats “younger” and the next step is to repeat this process on dogs. If everything goes as planned, in about 10 years, the tests might be continued on human subjects and in 20 years we’re going to have a final product available in pharmacies and hospitals.
This is possible for editing the DNA however not through gene therapy as initially believed. George Church says that the anti-aging process he and his team are working on uses new genes that are basically inserted into the DNA. Basically, new genes takeover the features of the old ones, restore cognitive ability and can even repair problematic tissue. Some mice even saw improvements in the functions of the heart and kidneys.
George Church admits that there are some ethical dilemmas in the research he and his team is doing. The tests of these treatments, once released, should comply with ethical and legal rules, while availability should not be limited just to some people, but to everybody.