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Medicine Science

Old Stems Cells Young Again — Via Vampirism 109

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the ecstatic-twilight-fans dept.
pdragon04 writes to tell us that in recent tests a Howard Hughes Medical Institute team has found that through exposure to "young" blood cells, bone marrow stem cells start to act young again as well. "The researchers have not yet isolated the blood-borne factors that can switch old stem cells back to a more youthful state, but their results are consistent with other recent studies that show stem-cell aging may be reversible. Together those results suggest that it might one day be possible to boost the practical lifespan of stem cells, and thereby increase the body’s resistance to disease and age-related degeneration."
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Old Stems Cells Young Again — Via Vampirism

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  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:13PM (#30953406)

    And do you respect yourself in the morning, um, er evening? Whenever....

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:15PM (#30953428) Journal

    I'll live forever if I eat babies?

  • It almost sounds like Peter Watts' [slashdot.org] concepts are moving from his fiction into mainstream science. Well, I for one ...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:17PM (#30953454)

    in TFA.

    • by corbettw (214229)

      I'll bet this particular Anonymous Coward is a vampire himself, trying to convince us all they don't exist.

      I'm onto your schemes, bloodsucker!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Lack of substance in a particular article has never stopped some, "creative editing," on slashdot before ;)
  • Didn't they see the Dark Angel episode where Logan got a blood transfusion from Max, and was the able to walk a couple of eps later. Clearly researcher don't watch enough scifi. ~:-)
    • by kalirion (728907)

      Or Heroes, where a few drops of Claire's blood gives temporary regeneration powers to the receiver. Something Claire apparently forgot about in the most recent episode....

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        She has forgotten about that in every single episode since it happened! I just explain it away as a special property of her blood that only worked on others after Mohinder processed it. Yeah, that's it.

        God I wish I could stop watching that show.

        • by decoy256 (1335427)

          Except Takezo Kensai (A.K.A. Adam Monroe) used just his blood to heal Peter... and supposedly Monroe and Claire had the same ability.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:19PM (#30953474) Journal
    Elizabeth Bathory [wikipedia.org] could have told them all about it.
  • FTA:

    To see if younger blood could reverse the sluggishness of aging blood cells, the researchers began by surgically joining the bloodstreams of pairs of mice that were of different ages, but nearly clones of one another.

    PETA is going to go ape-shit.

    • And I'll say what I always say - fuck PETA. Yes, I'm against being unnecessarily cruel to animals, but if you eliminate animal testing then several areas of science will pretty much grind to a halt. I for one would gladly sacrifice countless animals if it means we can slow down the rate of aging.
      • by patlabor (56309)

        Watch the documentary 'Earthlings' and then tell me how you feel about this issue.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          we are a product of speciesism, what do you expect us to do, refuse our natural instincts? Remind me of that the next time you try to counterpoint it.

          I for one would gladly sacrifice countless amounts of any species if it is done voluntarily and without duress by the sentient/cognizant ones, to benefit humanity and/or the advance of science. Lots of people believe in this kind of concept, even though it is easily subverted. Some call it service (military or otherwise), or employment.

    • To see if younger blood could reverse the sluggishness of aging blood cells, the researchers began by surgically joining the bloodstreams of pairs of mice that were of different ages, but nearly clones of one another.

      PETA is going to go ape-shit.

      Not to mention what Dr. Egon Spengler's [wikipedia.org] reaction will be.

    • PETA is going to go ape-shit.

      True, but off-topic. They're probably going to go ape-shit over someone wearing fake leather. I doubt they are going to be reading the methods sections of scientific papers, they'd probably get upset over the non-cruelty-free ink the paper was printed on first.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:20PM (#30953492)

    Side effects include:

    Wearing pasty white makeup
    Being especially emo and whiney
    Changing username to MrsCullen4Ever3
    Wearing black nail polish
    and hanging out with shirtless underage guys.

  • by Orbijx (1208864) * <slashdot.orgNO@SPAMpixelechoes.net> on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:22PM (#30953520) Homepage Journal

    I read TFA (gasp! rare!)

    They were using older and diabetic mice for their tests.

    I can't help but wonder if this discovery may have some effect on diabetes treatments in the future. For diabetics who still have some pancreatic function, and aren't wholly dependent on pills, maybe the results found from this research could help them.

    As for those who are dependent on pills, needles, and the like, I could wonder what it would do for them.

    The article didn't really clarify what happened with the diabetes in the affected test subjects, though, so I lack that answer.

    • Hmm... Do you think that medical ethicists would whine if insulin pumps [wikipedia.org] were replaced with tiny little stunted clone fetuses, permanently grafted into the host's circulatory system? You could even dress them up in adorable little baby clothes!
      • Hmm... Do you think that medical ethicists would whine if insulin pumps [wikipedia.org] were replaced with tiny little stunted clone fetuses, permanently grafted into the host's circulatory system? You could even dress them up in adorable little baby clothes!

        Hmm...given that real fetuses currently can induce gestational diabetes [wikipedia.org] I'm not sure your fetal insulin pump replacement plan is going to work like you hope.

        Probably just matters how you write up the grant paper work though.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        And if they were stuck to your forehead!

    • by compro01 (777531)

      For diabetics who still have some pancreatic function, and aren't wholly dependent on pills, maybe the results found from this research could help them.

      I think you meant dependent on injections. The pills in question would be to either boost insulin sensitivity (Useful for type 1 (no pancreatic function) and 2 (insufficient pancreatic function)) or boost pancreatic function (only useful for type 2). Injections provide insulin directly (required in type 1, used in type 2 if other options are insufficient or can't be used for other reasons).

      • by Orbijx (1208864) *

        I'm a type 2 diabetic. I only use pills, diet, and exercise to treat my symptoms, since the insulin I was taking was causing me to bottom out (50-60 mg/dL or lower). I would love something that would drop the need for (up to) 2.5 gigantic pills out of my daily regimen (especially given the side-effects (of which my gut would thank me to avoid) of Metformin).

        I did address the needle group in my thoughts above, but a little haphazardly, perhaps. :)

        • Well (Score:2, Informative)

          by elsJake (1129889)

          A fairly older friend of mine's got type 2 diabetes and he sais he's been keeping it under control with diet , exercise and a couple of plant extracts.

          Now I'm not big on all the "nature treatments" and stuff if i can't read a proper scientific paper on the active ingredients and how they go about their business , and frankly i haven't given it much effort but it seems to work for him and he no longer has to take those nasty sulfamides the docs were feeding him.

          So here's a list of the stuff he takes:
          1) g

    • by Wiarumas (919682)
      So, it is uncertain if our future overlords will be immortal diabetics.
  • Meh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'll stay young the old-fashioned way: eat sensibly, exercise, and suck the life force from teenage virgins.

  • They always say that Science is catching up to Science Fiction.

    Now it appears that Science is catching up to Paranormal as well.
    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      They always say that Science is catching up to Science Fiction. Now it appears that Science is catching up to Paranormal as well.

      Actually my thought was this sounds a lot like the treatments talked about in Heinlein's [wikipedia.org] Methuselah's Children [wikipedia.org]

    • Supporting a hypothesis of "Quantum Immortality" an obvious alternative to the simulation hypothesis [wikipedia.org], with references to the anthropic principle.

      If every possible universe exists in quantum superposition, then I am experiencing this one because it is the one in which I live the longest, or the one in which I never cease to exist.

  • Mr. Burns is well known to have lived beyond his years due to infusions of blood from young boys.

  • by physburn (1095481) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:27PM (#30953576) Homepage Journal
    Except acting young again, does mean they stem cells will have lost any genetic damage, that occurred though aging. Perphaps some day though medicine will be able to produce truely young stem cells, but that would require checking that the DNA hasn't mutated from the orignal young cell line.

    ---

    Stell Cells [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

    • Except acting young again, does mean they stem cells will have lost any genetic damage, that occurred though aging. Perphaps some day though medicine will be able to produce truely young stem cells, but that would require checking that the DNA hasn't mutated from the orignal young cell line

      The current thinking in the field is that stem cells are generally more resistant to DNA damage than many other types of cells. A lot of damage comes from when the cell replicates it's DNA in preparation for division. The "textbook" stem cell don't seem to divide very often, instead they divide once to make transit amplifying cells, which divide like mad for a short period, making cells which will eventually mature and then not divide again. Why exactly older stem cells don't replentish the immune system

    • by intrazer (449566)

      This is right on the money. There is a reason that stem cells become old, they become senescent and decrease or stop their division to protect against cancer. Cellular senescence can be induced by oncogenes, or bypassed by introducing the factors found in this study.

      Knocking out tumor-suppressing genes has been shown to decrease aging while at the same time increase tumor incidence.

      Call me the day cancer is cured, that's the day these discoveries can be beneficial against aging.

  • Right now the comments on this topic are 85% jokes. Fun.

    So, how about a serious (read: overwraught) discussion. Postulate: no greater crimes will be committed against humanity than when we discover the secrets to clinical immortality.

    • Serious schmerious. What's funnier than real life vampirism or embedded cloned fetuses? Some people have *no* sense of humor....

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Jokes about Howard Hughes and blood sucking seem perfectly reasonable.

      Okay for the serious discussion. Obviously there's some chemical trigger involved to so the cells are responding more like young cells. It seems likely a drug could be developed that could delay age related disease. Immortality is likely an impossibility but delaying aging another decade or two would be massive. I'm starting to feel the effects of aging so getting ten years back even if it didn't extend life would be huge to me personally

    • Postulate: no greater crimes

      Such as growing clones of yourself for the purpose of transfusing their blood to prolong your own life.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)

      Wasn't this an episode of Babylon 5?

    • Postulate: no greater crimes will be committed against humanity than when we discover the secrets to clinical immortality.

      Okay, but it's going to be a while before that's anything other than academic, and it isn't sped up by the results here. The present study has preliminary results on signaling needed to make mouse blood stem cells divide more as they did when they were younger. One day we may be able to use this knowledge to improve immune function in seniors. Cell signaling tends to be very specific to the cell type, the context. We are most likely not going to find that these same signals make all other stem cells act

  • . . . start to act young again . . . through exposure to "young" blood cells . . .

    . . . especially if those "young" blood cells are packaged in an actractive young woman.

    . . . if they want to conduct a study on that, I'll be available in about 50 years . . .

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      . . . especially if those "young" blood cells are packaged in an actractive young woman.

      . . . if they want to conduct a study on that, I'll be available in about 50 years . . .

      Dude, I'm available now. Research this important can't wait!!

      Cheers

  • Although they try to match size, then relative age, sometimes out of expediency a recipient must accept a donor a decade, two, or even three decades older than themselves. Would these organs age at the donor's rate or recipient's rate? I'm guessing the answer is "in between". Depending on the tissue, the donor cells may be slowly replaced by host stem cells over the decades and become more host-like. Heart and muscle has a slow turnover rate of one percent a year. So hearts are never fully converted. Som
    • My guess is that the organ would most likely continue to age at the donor's rate and any "turnover" would be too slow to make any appreciable difference. I found this article about kidney transplants. From the extract, it basically says the age-matching helps increase the chances of survival for young recipients. http://jasn.asnjournals.org/cgi/content/full/15/4/1086 [asnjournals.org]
    • I'd imagine that the risks of taking poison every day to prevent tissue rejection far outweigh the "organ age" issue for most patients.

  • Old stems those cells, ha? Is that what they call it now? Since I have gone this way already let's continue with that. He, Old, stems them wicked, stems them good!

  • Screw the Red Cross, I'm going to start selling my blood to rich old people!
  • ...in the Kurzweil might not be completely full of shit even if he is crazy column.

  • Step 1. Abduct teenage girls with proper blood type.
    Step 2. Drain them of said blood, Discard remaining husk.
    Step 3. Drain your tainted blood while infusing theirs.
    Step 4. Hire Amazing P.R. firm to make teenage girls love you.
    Step 5. Immortal Profit!

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Sir, you need to reconsider your P.R. firm. With an Amazing P.R. firm, you don't need steps 1 and 2. The teenage girls will gladly give you a pint or two, and you will have plenty of them to do your fill infusion.
      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        Doesn't work... The teenage girls need to know you are dangerous and a murderer but that 'they' are somehow differnt and special and you aren't going to kill them...

        That's the only way it seems to work.... Donno....

  • One painless, uncontroversial source of both young blood and stem cells is (or was) your umbilical cord blood. This is usually thrown away. Collecting it after a baby is born is trivially easy. The material is easy to preserve for decades. Costs are mostly related to storage & record-keeping.
    • The failure to get all the blood possible out of the afterbirth and into the infant reduces the health of the infant. Although it's common in modern childbirth to cut the cord as soon as possible, it's very very bad practice.
      • by tresho (1000127)
        The failure to get all the blood possible out of the afterbirth and into the infant reduces the health of the infant. Although it's common in modern childbirth to cut the cord as soon as possible, it's very very bad practice. Your opinion is not shared by modern obstetricians. In any case there will always be some blood retained in the veins of the umbilical cord that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Couldn't help being reminded of the rejuvenation method invented for humans that didn't have the "Lazarus Gene" in Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love".

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