Age related pathologies including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), diabetes as well as a host of other life-threatening illnesses are increasingly affecting the economic and social quality of life in developed societies.
Scientists have proposed that epigenetic alterations (such as DNA methylation) are a major underlying cause of these diseases. The NIH defines epigenetic alternations as a “heritable change that does not affect the DNA sequence but results in a change in gene expression.”
Currently the only known method to repair epigenetic alterations is to reprogram the cells and revert the affected cells to pluripotency (i.e. placenta stage cells). Current cell reprogramming techniques, however, have major limitations as they are tumorigenic, potent in inducing cell identity loss, and very hard to activate by small molecules.
Hebrew University stem cell researcher, Dr. Yossi Buganim has developed an IP-protected cell reprogramming technique that involves combining a unique number of different factors. His technique reprograms cells to their trophoblast stem cell (TSC) state, effectively resetting their epigenetic state and allowing for partial rejuvenation of elderly cells. Dr. Buganim’s TSC reprogramming technique has an advantage over current methodology, as it is less tumorigenic, less potent in losing cell identity and easier to activate by small molecules.