London: Scientists have discovered that manipulating genes could be key to a longer and healthier life.In a pioneering experiment, researchers slowed down the ageing process using a novel gene therapy treatment, the Daily Express reported.Now they expect that the laboratory breakthrough will one day lead to the creation of a pill that could extend life by decades and prevent or reverse diseases like cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.Researchers based at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, who conducted the work, asserted that the technique could be used in human trials.“I am very excited about this. It is the first time we have shown a way to increase longevity and health span with gene therapy without side-effects,” Dr Maria Blasco, the biologist who led the research, said.“The ageing of our cells is the main cause of disease. This breakthrough could extend or reduce the incidence of conditions such as cancer and heart disease, while increasing lifespan.”The team examined a natural enzyme called telomerase. The enzyme is found in human foetuses and it is thought that it has the ability to keep the body young and rejuvenate cells. It is no longer active or “expressed” in adults.
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