Like other biological matters, the answer to the secret of aging is complex. While understanding cellular aging might not result in the creation of a Youth Potion, it could help scientists and researchers to better fight age-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Along the way, perhaps a new wrinkle treatment will also be created!
During their research, scientists from England’s Newcastle University paired up with researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany. Utilizing cell cultures, genetically modified mice and computer modeling, this is what they learned: when a cell passes a certain age, it either stops multiplying into more cells or simply self-destructs. This happens because the cell “discovers” it has DNA damage, which happens over time. When the cell discovers this DNA damage, it sends a message to its mitochondria—the energy pack of the cell—to create free-radical molecules to “instruct” the cell to destroy itself or stop dividing. The cells are actually programmed to self-destruct when DNA damage is identified in order to avoid causing cancer in the body.
The research teams hope to continue their work to determine how to adjust the aging process. At risk, however, is creating cells that become carcinogenic. Therefore, baby steps will be taken to avoid any such risk.