Aging is a subject that effects everyone and almost everyone in the modern world is busy finding effective and harmless ways to slow it down. Scientists have recently made an incredible step forward in their experiments by extending the life span of worms. According to a study published in July in the journal Cell Reports, a team of international researchers have made it possible for a worm, that lives typically for three or four weeks only, to live five times longer than his expected life-time. This is similar to a human being living 400 years. Scientists are confident that some additional research can turn this study into reality in near future.
How will this be done?
Molecules in a cell act as the pathway to carry various cellular functions. One molecule receives a signal to do something then transfers that signal to another molecule. The other molecule transfers the message to the next one and so on until the signal or message is acted upon. As the field of biology is very wide, researchers found a link between the insulin signalling pathway and the aging signalling pathway.
All the experimenting was done on a worm. When scientists changed the first pathway, the life span of the worm doubled, but by altering the second pathway the life span increased by about thirty percent. So, logically it was concluded that by changing both the pathways the average life span can be increased by about 130 percent.
However, the scientists argued that doing this should actually increase the life span by about 500 percent. To support this statement Jarod Rollins of the MDI Biological Laboratory said in a press release “…the synergistic extension is really wild, the effect is not one plus one equals two, it is one plus one equals five. Our findings demonstrate that nothing in nature exists in a vacuum; in order to develop the most effective anti-aging treatments we have to look at the longevity networks rather than individual pathways…”
These findings showed that aging is not simply the result of one specific gene or pathway acting on its own, but rather a union of networks all working together for the long term. This will certainly help explain why no single gene or pathway has been found that can provide longer life for worms, humans, or any other animal.
Although worms are not like humans, they do share many similar cellular pathways with us. So, scientists have now agreed that the process used to extend the lifespan of worms could also be applied to human beings.
Despite all efforts, the manner of interaction between pathways has not been found yet. The president of MDI Biological Laboratory Hermann Haller in a press release said “… by helping to characterize these interactions, our scientists are paving the way for much needed therapies to increase a healthy lifespan for a rapidly aging population…”