Yamanaka Factors - Key to a long life

Yamanaka Factors - Key to a long life

You want to live long? I'll bet you do. If you do, you might want to get your head around something known as Yamanaka factors. 

Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel laureate (2012), was granted the coveted prize for demonstrating that even older cells could be reprogrammed. But I get ahead of myself. 

Cells divide and multiply. That is how your body grew into the human being you are now. When they divide and multiply, over long periods of time, they develop errors. So older cells find it harder to self-renew and multiply. 

Mr. Yamanaka's brilliance was in recognising that a few factors could restore the vitality of the cell. These factors were called transcription factors. Think of them as a code telling your cells how to go back to being the way they were. 

The four factors were Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc. I apologise for the names. But the magic lies not in their names but in what they are capable of doing. 

Oct4 can help your cells maintain their self-renewing properties. Sox2 works to help your genes express correctly. Klf4 helps reprogram your cells, restoring vitality and cell division. c-Myc helps your cells divide and grow. 

Collectively, the four factors were able to reduce the age of a cell, measured by the Horvath's clock by thirty years. Yes thirty years!

So, how would you use this knowledge? 

Researchers have built mechanisms to introduce these four factors into your body. Once they reach, they bind to your DNA and alter the expression of genes. Effectively, your genes have been reprogrammed. 

It is important that this process is stable and does not result in a chain reaction that results in cancer due to uncontrolled cell division. But that is where Mr. Yamanaka was brilliant.

He realised that the combined effect of all four factors would create a stabilised state. 

Remember, we are talking about reversing, now slowing aging.

As I keep telling you, all of you reading this are going to live till you are at least a hundred and twenty years old. 

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