Slowing Our Death Using Stem Cells
Stem cells play a prominent role in how we age. But there is a way to slow down this aging process.
There are many things that directly impact our growth as we age. Smoking, sun exposure. But these are the decisions of a human.
Something like stem cell exhaustion is not.
But both affect our aging factor. So how can we slow down the former?
For those who are new to the concept of stem cell exhaustion, check out part 1, where I divulge into the correlation of stem cell aging to biological aging:
Stem Cell Aging Causes Our Deaths
Over time, the functionality of the human body’s cells deteriorates and eventually is unable to replicate. Question is…
The end goal is to optimize our lifespan. In order to do so, we have to attack aging.
But, not to worry. Luckily for us, scientists have realized how prominent this issue is years before we did. And they’ve been working on some solutions, with a vision in mind.
Astoundingly, health professionals have made some important connections that help mitigate the mysteries of stem cell exhaustion. Let’s take a look.
NAD+ is a co-enzyme that tells cells to look after themselves. NAD+ is formed by ATP and Vitamin B3. It’s proven that with age, ATP production decreased by ~50% in rat mitochondria (where ATP is formed).
Subsequently, NAD+ reduces as you grow.
But the importance of the enzyme comes hand in hand with its function. And could be the human anti-aging pill.
Due to the security standards of cells, NAD+ can’t enter cells. To solve this problem, scientists modify the cell by taking in another protein in the cell and turning it into NAD+.
By adding more NAD+ into our cells, it will support a healthy metabolism and cellular energy production. Without it, our cells won’t function properly. So if we can stabilize the cell’s function throughout one’s life cycle, without it reducing, it could prolong the life span.
Killing Senescent Cells
Senescence is the #1 cause of aging in mammals. They are caused by the shortening and degradation of telomeres over time. Each time cell divides, they lose a tiny bit of DNA at the ends, but telomeres refute that from happening.
Senescent cells occur when the telomeres are gone (aka telomere attrition, from part1), and harm tissue around them. They are also linked to diseases such as diabetes.
So why don’t they die?
These senescent cells linger in the body and do not die because they underproduce the protein that triggers programmed cell death or apoptosis.
One method that scientists are currently working on is senolytics.
Senolytics are a class of drugs that selectively clear senescent cells.
Senolytic drugs are agents that selectively induce apoptosis of senescent cells. Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death. Senescent cells seem to be more resistant to apoptosis compared to normal proliferating cells.
The older you get the more senescent cells accumulate in the body and potentially lead to age-related disease
Stem Cell Rejuvenation
Rejuvenation is the restoration of youth. We can do so in our case using stem cells. Stem cell rejuvenation is a type of therapy used to combat the effects of the natural aging process.
A large number of youthful stem cells are injected into the patient via IV. These are intended to replace existing “old” cells, thus allow to the body to work efficiently by healing itself and reducing inflammation.
It’s the most common way to combat stem cell exhaustion, aka natural aging. And it’s common because it’s the most accessible method.
But not all of it is great.
Stem cell treatment has achieved positive results in only over 45% of patients, according to one trial.
However, the stages of improvement in the skin and body happen quite rapidly. Many patients saw improvement in surprisingly less than 6 months.
It’s evident that scientists and health professionals are working together to do everything they can in their ability to provide the best methods to combat the natural aging process. All in all, these solutions mark just the beginning of reversing stem cell exhaustion.
As technology and science progress, there will be more affordable and accessible ways to prevent and/or reverse stem cell exhaustion.
But until then, it’s important to be well-versed with how we age.
Share part 1 and part 2 with a friend or two for topics affecting us this moment: aging.
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