The scientists from the University of California Los Angeles were exploring how to regenerate the thymus gland when, by accident, they found something more exciting – how to slow down and even reverse biological aging. The scientists public their study’s results in the journal Aging Cells.
The participants in the study, all from California, in the US, administered a growth hormone and two diabetes drugs that stimulate the regeneration of the thymus gland. However, the results surprised the scientists. The subject in the research lost about 2.5 years on the epigenetic clock.
“I’d expected to see slowing down of the clock, but not a reversal. That felt kind of futuristic,” said Steve Horvath, a scientist at UCLA, for the journal Nature.
“It may be that there is an effect. But the results are not rock-solid because the study is very small and not well controlled,” added Wolfgang Wagner, a cell biologist at the University of Aachen in Germany.
How did the researchers find out how to reverse biological aging?
The so-called epigenetic clock comprises of chemical changes at the DNA level. The study’s goal was to see the effects of growth hormones and diabetes drugs on the regeneration of thymus gland tissues.
The review on the epigenetic clock in the participants was not intended, but when scientists conducted it, they found out the surprising results.
More specifically, four measures of the epigenetic clock considerably reversed throughout the study. That means that, by accident, the scientists discovered how to reverse biological aging. However, the results are preliminary, the researchers warned, and further studies are needed to confirm the findings.
Now, the scientists are planning for new studies on how to reverse biological aging using a cocktail of growth hormones and diabetes medications, with more diverse subjects, of different gender, age, and so on.