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University Of Illinois At Chicago Researchers Find "Fountain Of Youth" Gene

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    University Of Illinois At Chicago Researchers Find "Fountain Of Youth" Gene

    University Of Illinois At Chicago Researchers Find "Fountain Of Youth" Gene

    The body's inability to grow new tissue as it ages might be overcome by increasing the activity of a gene known as FoxM1B, according to a study published in the Sept. 25 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
    By increasing the activity, or expression, of this gene in aged experimental mice, Robert Costa, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and his colleagues were able to restore the regeneration of liver cells to rates of growth typical of young mice.

    Because in humans the FoxM1B gene exists not only in the liver but also throughout the body, the researchers believe their discovery might one day be used in gene therapy in the elderly to restore their ability to replace old cells with new ones and rejuvenate worn-out organs. Cells divide normally when stimulated by FoxM1B, making it an ideal candidate for use in therapeutic intervention, according to Costa.

    "Ponce de Leon was looking in the wrong place for the fountain of youth," said Costa. "He should have been looking for the FoxM1B gene."

    According to Costa, earlier studies had shown that age-related defects in the proliferation of cells found in connective tissue throughout the body are associated with diminished expression of FoxM1B. Defects in cell proliferation lead to chromosomal abnormalities and mutations, which in turn lead to a variety of health problems found in older people, including infections, organ failure, Alzheimer's disease, dementia and an increased incidence of cancer.

    In the elderly, cells grow slowly in response to injury and do not proliferate adequately to replenish damaged cells in the skin, hair, muscle and other tissues. As a consequence, injuries take longer to heal, and certain physical changes occur-for example, the skin wrinkles and muscles atrophy.

    In the present study, aged mice were fitted with a "promoter" to increase expression of the FoxM1B gene. After undergoing a partial hepatectomy, in which a portion of the liver was removed, the mice rapidly regenerated new tissue, unlike typical aged mice.

    The DNA in the regenerating liver cells replicated normally, and cells divided just as they do in the livers of young mice that have been injured. Furthermore, laboratory studies showed that increasing expression of the FoxM1B gene in aged mice restored as well the activity of numerous other genes involved in cell division.

    "FoxM1B clearly regulates the expression of a whole network of genes that are required for cells to multiply," said Costa.

    Importantly, Costa added, the study indicated that the FoxM1B gene also controls exit from mitosis, that is, the completion of cell division. Without that, cells would be abnormal, failing to divide and retaining too many copies of DNA - defects commonly seen in cancers.

    Other scientists involved in the study were Xinhe Wang, from UIC, Elizabeth Quail, a visiting scientist from the University of Western Australia, Nai-Jung Hung, from UIC, Yongjun Tan, from UIC, and Honggang Ye, formerly from UIC and now at the University of Chicago.

    The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health supported the research.


    Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University Of Illinois At Chicago for journalists and other members of the public. If you wish to quote from any part of this story, please credit University Of Illinois At Chicago as the original source. You may also wish to include the following link in any citation:
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    Maksim (Max) Bily
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    Hi Max, Thanks for the post.


    You know I have to respond whenever you mention any medical news from my Sweet Home Chicago [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img] lol.



      Please understand that cancer is also the consequence of unbridled growth and immortality of cells. Wise.


        You know, I'm sure many health care providers will find this strange but a lot of us don't care about cancer and diabetes and stuff. A bunch of women were chatting one night on AOL and a few chimed in off the net using AIM about mammograms, Paps and primary care docs who just don't get it. Almost to a person we don't go in for these tests because one major disaster at a time is all we can handle. Not one of the quads or high paras had any health professional including rehab shrinks ask about breast reconstruction after SCI due to reduced pectoral muscle strength. We figured if they cared so little for what we thought about our body image at injury why are they so keen to drop a test on us that the only "cure" to is more disfigurement.

        Pap smears? The tables aren't accessible, the staff doesn't have a clue about spacticity and stirrups and swabbing. And when we ask about voluntary partial hysterectomies for independence sake, they look at us like we're insane but we're supposed to be humiliated again for a Pap? And it is humiliating when legs get dropped here and there, boyfriends, husbands or other family are called in to help in transfers, etc.

        I lost a brother to leukemia so it's not like I don't know it can be deadly. But I'm with the many other women who say fix this problem first. Then if it causes uncontrolled growth we'll work on cancer prevention and treatment. Seems just a short hit of radiation can stop cell proliferation in the cord. I've seen my share of women paralyzed by uterine and ovarine cancer radiation treatments because of the radiotherapy to know it works well.
        Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

        Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.


          Sue, I understand but I would not be so complacent about cancer in the central nervous system. There are relatively few effective therapies for intrinsic tumors of the brain or spinal cord. One of the major risks of stem cells is that they may turn out to be teratomas. Wise.