An “elixir of life” that reverses ageing has been discovered.
Brief exposure to a cocktail of proteins “can promote rejuvenation in multiple human cell types”, according to scientists.
Researchers now hope to create new ground-breaking drugs to battle age-related diseases.
It comes after tests showed the proteins, , gave elderly mice their strength back –much like Benjamin Button.
The film character, played by Brad Pitt, is born old and then gets younger.
Study co-author Professor Thomas Rando said: “We are very excited about these findings.
“My colleagues and I have been pursuing the rejuvenation of tissues since our studies in the early 2000s revealed that systemic factors can make old tissues young
“My colleagues and I have been pursuing the rejuvenation of tissues since our studies in the early 2000s revealed that systemic factors can make old tissues younger.”
The academic, of Stanford University School of Medicine, US, added “it is gratifying to see evidence of success with this approach” after using it to give old mice younger muscles.
Yamanaka factors can turn nearly any type of human cell to the state they are in when we are embryos in the womb.
The induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are already used in regenerative medicine.
The new research showed the brief exposure to the proteins winds the clock back without turning organ cells back all the way.
Senior study author Assistant professor Vittorio Sebastiano said: “We’ve wondered for some time if it might be possible to simply rewind the ageing clock.
“Although much more work needs to be done, we are hopeful that we may one day have the opportunity to reboot entire tissues.”
His team showed elderly mice regained youthful strength after transplanting muscle cells were given their protein treatment.