Instead of aging, Benjamin Button gets younger and younger in the fictional film of the same name. Researchers have now found a way to rejuvenate cells and possibly defeat age-related diseases once and for all.

As we get older, it’s not just our joints that get stiffer and our skin more wrinkled. Our metabolism and our bodies become more susceptible to a variety of diseases. The fact that our age on paper is steadily advancing cannot be prevented. With our bodies it looks quite different.

Molecular biologist David Sinclair has been researching how to make old mice young again for 20 years. Using proteins that can turn adult cells into stem cells, Sinclair and his research team transformed aged mouse cells into younger versions of themselves in mice. His team’s first breakthrough, published in late 2020, resulted in old mice with poor eyesight and damaged retinas suddenly being able to see again.

No diseases from rejuvenated cells

“As far as we can tell, it’s a permanent reset, and we believe it’s a universal process that could be used throughout the body to reset our age,” says the scientist.

Two mice sit side by side in Sinclair’s lab. One looks young and fresh, the other gray and powerless. They are siblings of the same age who come from the same litter – except that one has been genetically modified so that it ages faster. Sinclair came up with the idea of ​​researching a way to reverse this process.

With a rejuvenation of body cells, the occurrence of various diseases could be prevented, the researcher explains at an event. “This is the world to come. It’s only a matter of time and for most of us it will happen in our lifetime,” he says.

“Don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work in humans too”

According to the microbiologist, modern medicine treats disease but not the underlying cause, which is aging. “We know that if we reverse the age of an organ like a mouse brain, age-related diseases disappear.” That way, the mouse’s memory could return and it would no longer be demented.

Sinclair is confident that those results can be extrapolated to other species. “I’m optimistic that we can mimic this fundamental process that occurs in all animals, from bats to sheep and whales to humans. We did it in a mouse. I see no reason why we couldn’t should also work in humans.”

What: CNN