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Scientists Discover Protein That Reverses Heart Disease In Older Mice

Scientists at Harvard University think they have found a way to possibly reverse the aging process in human organs.

Dr. Richard Lee, director of regenerative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Amy Wagers, of the Department of Regenerative Biology at Harvard, made the discovery when they were working with younger and older mice.

They took an older mouse with the most common form of human heart failure and merged the mouse’s blood stream with that of a healthy young mouse using a Siamese twin technique known as parabiosis. They found that the older mouse’s diseased heart was able to reverse to a younger healthier condition.

They later identified a protein in the blood of young mice called GDF-11, which diminishes with age. They injected this protein directly into the older mice and had the same positive results. They are using this protein to restore other aging/diseased tissues and organs. Their results are published online today in the science journal Cell.

Guest:

  • Dr. Richard Lee, director of regenerative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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