Researchers may have discovered how to slow aging process

November 4, 2011 2:46:27 PM PDT
It is not yet the much sought after Fountain of Youth, but scientists at the Mayo Clinic may have discovered a way to slow the aging process.

The key, according to a report in the journal Nature, is purging the body of what are known as senescent cells or so-called "zombie" cells that no longer work as they should.

Researchers did this in mice and, while they did not expand their lifespan, the mice were able to stay healthy longer.

The hope is that someday this research may be able to translate to humans, helping us live healthier lives.

"We're not going to genetically engineer humans to be responding to the same chemical we're using in the lab. But one could envisage...perhaps a vaccination almost against aged cells that your immune system could then perhaps go through and do a spring cleaning of itself," said Darren Baker, PhD, cell biologist, Mayo Clinic.

Researchers also need to find out if these zombie cells need continuous clearing or if intermittent removal, sort of like a spring cleaning, is just as effective.