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Biotech Medicine

Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice 130

symbolset writes "Research published yesterday in the journal Cell (abstract) by Richard Lee and Amy Wagers of Harvard has isolated GDF-11 as a negative regulator of age-associated cardiac hypertrophy. 'When the protein ... was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.' Through a type of transfusion called parabiotic or 'shared circulation' in mice — one old and sick, the other young and well — they managed to reverse this age-associated heart disease. From there, they isolated an active agent, GDF-11, present in the younger mouse but absent in the older, which reverses the condition when administered directly. They are also using the agent to restore other aged/diseased tissues and organs. Human applications are expected within six years. Since the basis for the treatment is ordinary sharing of blood between an older ill, and younger healthy patient, we can probably expect someone to start offering the transfusion treatment somewhere in the world, soon, to those with the means to find a young and healthy volunteer."
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Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice

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  • Bad news, Amy! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @12:33PM (#43686211)

    You are fired. I don't want to get any younger!

    - Professor Farnsworth.

  • Re:Effects on donor? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:00PM (#43686501)

    Twould be a shame if people started doing these experiments on humans, and then find out that it accelerates aging in the donor.

    They only did shared circulation in the first part of the experiment. Once they isolated the effective compound, shared circulation was no longer necessary. If this proves to be beneficial in humans, then most likely, the GDF-11 could be manufactured using GMO, but if it is extracted from human blood, it will almost certainly be extracted from donated blood that is not reinjected into the donor. We already know that donating blood is good for you []

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Friday May 10, 2013 @01:09PM (#43686623) Homepage Journal

    First he did it at the tail end of "Methuselah's Children"

  • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Friday May 10, 2013 @03:34PM (#43688259)

    I don't think that there's any evidence that he was a Nazi. He joined the Hitler Youth program at 14 because the law required it, and he was drafted into the German military later on because again, the law required it. There are accounts suggesting that he didn't like being in the former, and he deserted from the later. Pretty much any German of his age would have gone through the exact same thing, whether they supported the Nazi regime or not. The only ones who didn't were killed either under Action T4 or just for insubordination.

    I'm not standing up for him by the way, personally I couldn't care less about anything the Vatican does. I'm an atheist so I have no reason for doing so anyways; I'm just stating the known facts.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun