For some species, living twice as long in good health depends on no more than a few genes. When this fact was revealed by studies on worms three decades ago, it ushered in a golden age of ageing studies that has delivered numerous results, but also sown some confusion. The prestigious journal Cell is now publishing an exhaustive review of the subject that aims to set things straight and "serve as a framework for future studies." All the molecular indicators of ageing in mammals the nine signatures that mark the advance of time are set out in its pages. And the authors also indicate which can be acted upon in order to prolong life, while debunking a few myths like the belief that antioxidants can delay aging.
The authors are Spanish scientists Maria Blasco (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, CNIO), Carlos López-Otín (University of Oviedo), and Manuel Serrano (CNIO), along with Linda Partridge (Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing) and Guido Kroemer (Paris Descartes University). Their inspiration came from a classic 2000 paper, The Hallmarks of Cancer, also published in Cell, which marked a watershed in cancer research. Blasco, Serrano and Partridge contacted Cell proposing a similar effort to systematically review and organize the state of knowledge on aging; López-Otín and Kroemer had also come to the conclusion that this kind of analysis was much needed, and decided to share their ideas and efforts to get the project off the ground.
"The current situation of aging research exhibits many parallels with that of cancer research in previous decades," reads the opening paragraph of the resulting paper, titled The Hallmarks of Aging. "The aging field has been notoriously more abundant in theories than experimental evidence," says Blasco; "this review doesn't discuss theories, but molecular and genetic evidence." For López-Otín "the time had come to set out in organized, understa
|Contact: CNIO Communication Department|
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO)