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Studies Find General Mechanism of Cellular Aging

According to the article Studies Find General Mechanism of Cellular Aging (,) "three separate studies confirm a gene that suppresses tumor cell growth also plays a key role in aging."

The studies found that as the concentration(hence, the rate of gene expression) of the protein p16INK4a in a stem cell increases, the more the stem cell has the characteristics and behaviors of senescence (being aged.) Stem cells lose their ability to divide and replenish themselves as they age, and this loss of function was proven to be a result of the increased expression of the p16INK4a gene.

The implications are that a) aging-related diseases are the result of an ever-increasing inability of stem cells to replenish tissue, and b) since upregulation of a single gene is the culprit, it may be easier than is commonly imagined to develop anti-aging therapies that have dramatic effects (even if they don't provide a total "cure" for aging.)

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