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US scientists successfully reverse hallmarks of Ageing in Mice using a technique called Cellular Reprogramming

Due to the complexity of aging these therapies may take up to 10 years to reach clinical trials

A Mouse. Pixabay

Washington, December 16, 2016: US researchers have successfully reversed the hallmarks of ageing in mice using a technique called cellular reprogramming.

The approach extended the lifespan of mice with a premature aging disease called progeria by 30 per cent, Xinhua news agency cited a US journal Cell report as saying.

“Our study shows that aging may not have to proceed in one single direction,” Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor at the Salk Institute’s Gene Expression Laboratory and senior author of the study, said.

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“It has plasticity and, with careful modulation, aging might be reversed,” said Izpisua Belmonte.

Cellular reprogramming is a process that involves inducing the expression of four genes, Yamanaka factors, to allow scientists to convert any cell into induced pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of dividing indefinitely and becoming any cell type present in our body.

For cells to reach pluripotency, the expression of Yamanaka factors typically takes two to three weeks.

However, previous efforts involving cellular reprogramming resulted in mice that either died immediately or developed extensive tumours.

In the new study, the Salk team used a partial cellular reprogramming approach, which induced expression of Yamanaka factors for just two to four days, to avoid tumours or death and improve aging characteristics.

When they examined skin cells from mice with progeria using this approach, the cells showed reversal of multiple aging hallmarks without losing their skin-cell identity.

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Encouraged by this result, the team used the same method to treat live mice with progeria, which delivered “striking” results.

Compared to untreated mice, the reprogrammed mice looked younger; their cardiovascular and other organs improved and most surprising of all, their lifespan went from 18 weeks to 24.

“This study shows that aging is a very dynamic and plastic process, and therefore will be more amenable to therapeutic interventions than what we previously thought.”

The researchers explained their partial reprogramming approach works by alerting the genome’s chemical marks, known as epigenetic marks, which change over a lifetime in response to environmental changes, regulate and protect the genome.

“This work shows that epigenetic changes are at least partially driving aging,” said first author Paloma Martinez-Redondo, a Salk research associate.

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“It gives us exciting insights into which pathways could be targeted to delay cellular aging.”

The researchers believed that induction of epigenetic changes via chemicals or small molecules may be the most promising approach to achieve rejuvenation in humans.

However, they cautioned that due to the complexity of aging these therapies may take up to 10 years to reach clinical trials. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?