Stem cells growth declines with age

Abbey Normal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2005
Mid-Atlantic region
Gene Turns Off Stem-Cell Regeneration with Age
September 7, 2006

A gene called p16-Ink4a switches off stem cells as a person ages in order to reduce the risk of cancer and this process may be a factor in age-related health problems, according to research published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

U.S. scientists found that the gene, already known for its role in suppressing tumors, balances the production of new replacement cells (a requirement for continued life) against the risk of cancer, which occurs when cells continue to divide uncontrollably, The New York Times reported.

To counterbalance the increased risk of cancer linked with age, the p16-Ink4a gene gradually reduces stem cells' ability to proliferate, the scientists found. The research was conducted in mice that lacked the p16-Ink4a gene, but it's believed that the finding is likely valid in humans, too.

The scientists said the finding suggests that many age-related degenerative diseases are not the result of deterioration caused by daily wear-and-tear, but by this gene's switching off of stem cells that renew the body's various tissues, the Times reported.

If stem cells are switched off with age, it may not be possible to use a patient's own adult stem cells to treat disease, the scientists noted.
This isn't new. I've heard this explanation for the process of aging before. Just think of the possibilities if we could switch those cells back on!
Yes! After I read the article, I was thinking how much I wish I had stored that for my daughter. The trend seemed to start a little bit right after she was born. :(

I missed the cord blood, but I have been saving their baby teeth. :)

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