Helen Blau Lab at Stanford ExtendsTelomeres; Breakthrough May Enable Increased Numbers of Cells for Experimental Testing, Also Offers Possible Avenue for Development of Anti-Aging Treatments; Work Is “Game-Changer” Says Stem Cell Authority Gerald Weissman

Will extending telomeres lead to longer, healthier lives? Researchers have taken an important step toward answering this question by developing a new treatment used in the laboratory that extends telomeres. One of the key aspects of aging is the shortening of telomeres over time. Telomeres, which serve as protective "end caps" for chromosomes, help keep DNA healthy and functioning as it replicates. Unfortunately, these protective end caps become shorter with each DNA replication, and eventually are no longer able to protect DNA from sustaining damage and mutations. In other words, we get older. An important step toward lengthening telomeres has now been made, which not only allows scientists to increase cell numbers for testing drugs, but may also hold a key to longer and healthier lives. This research was published online on January 22, 2015 in The FASEB Journal. "In the near term, since biomedical research depends heavily on having large numbers of cells available for study, we hope that these findings will be broadly applicable in the search for treatments and cures for disease," said Helen M. Blau, Ph.D., who led the research as Director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, and an Associate Editor of The FASEB Journal, the Bethesda, Maryland-based journal in which her report was published. "Ultimately, we hope that these findings will help prevent, delay, or treat age-related conditions and diseases, as well as certain devastating genetic diseases of inadequate telomere maintenance." Dr. Blau is an extraordinarily eminent scientist and world-renowned expert on stem cell biology. Just a fraction of Dr. Blau’s awards and accomplishments are indicated below.
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