Inserm's AVENIR "Genomic plasticity and aging" team, directed by Jean-Marc Lemaitre, Inserm researcher at the Functional Genomics Institute (Inserm/CNRS/Universit de Montpellier 1 and 2), has recently succeeded in rejuvenating cells from elderly donors (aged over 100). These old cells were reprogrammed in vitro to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and to rejuvenated and human embryonic stem cells (hESC): cells of all types can again be differentiated after this genuine "rejuvenation" therapy. The results represent significant progress for research into iPSC cells and a further step forwards for regenerative medicine.
The results are published in the Genes & Development Journal dated 1 November 2011.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are undifferentiated multiple-function cells. They can divide and form all types of differentiated adult cells in the body (neurones, cardiac cells, skin cells, liver cells, etc...)
Since 2007, a handful of research teams across the world have been capable of reprogramming human adult cells into induced pluripotent cells (iPSC), which have similar characteristics and potential to human embryonic stem cells (hESC). This kind of reprogramming makes it possible to reform all human cell types without the ethical restrictions related to using embryonic stem cells.
Until now, research results demonstrated that senescence (the final stage of cellular aging) was an obstacle blocking the use of this technique for therapeutic applications in elderly patients.
Today, Inserm researcher Jean-Marc Lemaitre and his team have overcome this obstacle. The researchers have successfully rejuvenated cells from elderly donors, some over 100 years old, thus demonstrating the reversibility of the cellular aging process.
To achieve this, they used an adapted strategy that consisted of reprogramming cells using a specific "cocktail" of six genetic factors, while erasing signs of aging. The research
|Contact: Juliette Hardy|
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)