Harvard breakthrough could lead to longer lives, better treatments

Could it really be possible to live long enough to see the Cubs win another world series? What about recovering from radiation exposure? A new breakthrough from scientists at Harvard Medical School could pave the way to longer lives and improved treatments for cancer and other DNA damage. The research, published in Science, has revealed a critical step in how cells repair damaged DNA.

Human cells are pretty good at repairing damage to our DNA (think sun damage) in our early years, but the ability weakens as we get older. The Harvard Medical School team, led by Aussie, Professor David Sinclair (an expert in the biology of aging) identified a signaling molecule (NAD) that regulates DNA repair.

The HMS team conducted experiments on mice with the NAD precursor NMN, which showed that the treatment “mitigates age-related DNA damage and wards off DNA damage from radiation exposure.” A previous study led by Sinclair has also shown that NMN reversed muscle aging in mice.

Human trials of NAD boosters are expected within 6 months.

This video from Professor Sinclair explains more about the exciting research.

Read more at the Harvard Gazette.

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