In early January, the world got the first peer-reviewed look at what could be the future of medicine.
Specifically, I’m referring to the discovery of a new gene therapy treatment that controls embryonic healing processes.
The genes that built you in the womb are still in your genome as an adult. And they can be reactivated to rebuild organs and tissues to their original youthful health.
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This could enable true regeneration, making it possible to prolong healthy human life spans by 20, 50 or maybe 100 years.
And we’re a lot closer to this reality than you might think.
Recently, a team of famed stem cell researchers published a historic paper in the medical journal Oncotarget.
The paper presents the culmination of anti-aging and life-extension research and is taking regenerative medicine to the next level.
A Game-Changer for Modern Medicine
Induced tissue regeneration. Complicated stuff, but here’s the basic idea.
While we’re in the embryonic stage, our bodies deal with injuries by using our original genetic blueprint. All humans do this until they transform from the embryonic state to the fetal or adult state.
Once we reach the adult or fetal stage, that changes.
Cells instead replicate by copying their existing genetic state. If there is an injury, surrounding cells adapt via processes like scarring. But this also means genetic defects can be passed on during this process.
And as we age, those defects multiply.
Though embryonic healing powers are mostly dormant in adults, they still exist in our genomes. If they could be reactivated in adults, damaged organs and tissues could regenerate based on their original genetic blueprint.
A process dubbed by researchers as induced tissue regeneration (iTR).
Sounds like a stretch of the imagination, yes.
However, it’s a fact that many animals maintain active developmental genes throughout their lives.
When these animals are injured, they draw on their embryonic gene instructions to regenerate damaged limbs and organs.
One such animal is the Iberian ribbed newt. According to a report in Nature, researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institutet recently sequenced the animal’s genome.
Among the most important discoveries was a profusion of genes normally active only in the embryonic stage.
The research sheds light on how certain animals access developmental gene pathways for regeneration.
Lead scientist Professor András Simon told Phys.org, “It will be exciting to figure out how regeneration in the adult organism re-activates embryonic genes.”
The implications for us humans are staggering.
A Brand New You Whenever You Want
Skin, hearts, eyes, pancreases, joint tissues, even brains could be regenerated if the genetic code were found to unlock iTR.
Aging itself could be reversed!
The Oncotarget paper says researchers have found the regenerative code in the human genome.
And researchers now know that the COX7A1 gene specifically is the gene that plays the central role in suppressing developmental pathways.
More importantly, the paper provides evidence that by blocking this gene cells can access the previously mentioned embryonic blueprint.
And thanks to additional findings in the Oncotarget paper, we also know the COX7A1 gene is turned off in embryonic cells.
The correlating findings mean it’s theoretically possible to activate developmental pathways in humans for medical purposes.
The most radical implication, of course, is the possibility of age reversal.
Ultimately, this will happen.
When it does it will profoundly change the human experience. Today’s young people could routinely access their embryonic gene pathways to cure diseases and symptoms of aging in the near future.
Does that mean my generation will be the last to die of old age?
There’s a lot of work to be done and researchers are still putting together a patent library to cover the therapy’s use for regenerative medicine.
But we’re truly living in exciting times — and we’re moving closer and closer to the goal of reversing aging and, possibly, defying death itself.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Reckoning.