Delay Aging with Gene P53?

Posted by Mia | 12:14:00 PM | | 0 comments »

There is a gene within our bodies that protects us from cancer, but there is new research that finds it may also delay aging. The gene is p53, or Protein 53 and there are hopes that new drugs will one day prevent cancer and extend youth and lifespan as it is a tumor suppressor. P53 is known as the “guardian angel gene” and has many anti-cancer mechanisms.

The study included genetically engineered mice with an extra copy of p53 that was strictly regulated by another, to turn on only when required; researchers found it played a huge role in delaying aging. In past cancer research, p53 caused premature aging because it was not regulated. The gene’s function is to produce a protein that kills cancer cells, hence stopping the formation of tumors.

The researchers concluded that mice with the extra copy of p53 lived 16% longer. As long as this gene is functioning properly, damaged or cancer cells destroy themselves thereby avoiding cell division causing tumors.

Still, the right balance is necessary and requires further study to prevent any harmful effects. While there are chemical compounds developed that boost p53, they are being tested for anti-cancer and anti-aging.

Recent studies also showed that p53, when stimulated by sunlight leads to tanning. There are some people with a rare condition, who inherit only one functional copy of the p53 gene and are therefore predisposed to cancer and often develop many tumors in early adulthood. But, there are mutations in p53 that are found in most tumor types which contribute to the chain of events leading to tumor formation.

In the meantime, we can only hope that new findings and new studies will show conclusive results in both preventing cancer and anti-aging, possibly increasing our lifespan by 16%, as it did with laboratory mice.