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Thursday, May 9, 2013

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.


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

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  • Ryanbillya

    Aren’t we living long enough? 

    • John Doe

      Nope, if i’m going to be dead infinitely after my 70ish years of life…. i’d like to live longer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sonic89us Jimmy Yip

      i dont think its mainly about living long enough it is about living better in old age.  

      • Pavalosv

        Why not both!? =)

      • Hereandnow

        I’m 40, almost 41. I’ve had a wonderful life so far and have no intention of dying if I can possibly help it. I rather enjoy being alive! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.abernathy.7186 David Abernathy

      Speak for yourself.

    • SpeakerForTheDaft

      Why wouldn’t people who love science want to live as long as possible? It just gives us more time to learn more about the universe, and experience the amazing stuff around us.

      • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

        If we’d bother giving our kids a proper science education, it wouldn’t matter how long any one of us lived because we don’t have to keep re-discovering things we already discovered.  It’s not all about YOU, other people can make discoveries too.

    • Bill Tettly

      speak for yourself you wierdo

    • Bender Rules

      I am holding out for my Robot body.  Brain transplant = awesome Robot powers
      Death to all humans Meat bag; I hope my new Robot body is powered by alcohol   

  • reaz mohmed

    There is so much to learn, why perish and miss out on all the wealth of knowledge left to learn. Think about how far mankind would be if we had figured out how to extend the life of newton, schrodinger etc. 

    • Jeff Flanagan

      I don’t think ordinary people would accept having the lives of our greatest extended, and if we helped everyone live indefinitely, I don’t see how we’d stop them from breeding.  The old need to die to make room for newborns.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.bamford Alexander Bamford

        It’s rather defeatist to simply state that we couldn’t adjust birth rates. In the long run there is, on the evidence of China’s One birth/family approach, a method to control population birth rates. 

        It comes down to a choice between two principles – do you prefer to condemn hundreds of thousands of people to die unnecessarily every day when they could have lived far longer, and never experienced crippling and painful old age, and with it caused immeasurable human cost on their families – or would you end this?

        • ACH

          The way the One Child policy has been carried out is an atrocity against humanity.  Some Chinese women who had permission to have a second baby had abortions forced on them because lackeys of the state took their power too far.  As people do.
          If we are going to talk population control, talk about widely available birth control and education.
          China’s despicable policy doesn’t deserve to be a model of anything.

        • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

          Right, because women and babies aren’t really human, therefore aren’t really dying before their time in China.  Gotcha.  Nice to know misogyny is still driving “scientific advancement.”

          • Romodon

            My privilege is so hard right now. 

        • scooper1028

          China’s one child policy is a total disaster.  Currently there are 50 million more men than women.  For thousands of years the children supported their parents in old age.  For most Chinese, this is no longer possible.  A major crisis now looms as China’s population ages.  

          British gerontologist Dr. Aubrey De Grey believes that the first person to live 1000 years already walks among us.  He cites the kinds of research that this article is about as evidence.  Look him up.  His argument is compelling. By the end of this century there may be a class of very wealthy people who will essentially be immortal.  Families with access to extreme lifespans will be able to accrue immense wealth, further fracturing societies along even starker fault lines.

      • Since1638

        Population growth management is a problem addressed by a combination of technological and social engineering.   Nomadic life gave way to small tribal villages, that gave way to large settlements, that gave way to small cities, then large cities, and now our modern metropolises.  At each stage we had to address shelter, food, water, sanitation, health, crime, disputes, transportation of goods and people, and other things we call utilities (electricity, gas, internet), etc.
        Population growth drove innovation on all these fronts.  At each new level of population we encountered new problems that we had to solve.  Aqueducts for water, sewers for waste, cars & trains for transportation, farms for mass food production, police and counts to handle crime and disputes, electricity for powering our homes, and gas for providing heat.  The list goes on and on.I welcome an era where no one needs to worry about death via organ failure.  Sure, we’ll live longer, and there will be big problems to face with all those extra people.  But we’ll figure it out.  We always do.  And we’ll have more brains around to help us too.  Besides there’s actually an average life span even for a theoretically immortal person – roughly 600 years.  Why?  Because accidents happen – crashes, drownings, fires, etc – and there are lots of accidents happening every day.  But those are other problems to face when heart failure isn’t a priority anymore.

        • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

          No, we’ll all die out.  But hey, if that’s what you want.

          You failed to mention the ecological consequences of all those people.  You can’t ignore that.  Going out into space is not an answer because machines can’t replace nature as an effective life support system.  If enough parts of the machine system go bad at once, there’s no escaping that.It’s the simple concept of homeostasis though.  If we didn’t have homeostasis within our bodies we’d die.  The biosphere of the Earth is rapidly losing its homeostasis thanks to our refusal to live within our own biological limits and at some point we won’t be able to reverse the trend.

          But they’ll never let everyone live to 300 or 600 anyway.  You know only rich people will get this.

          • Since1638

            You’ve written me off too quickly, and you’re far too fatalistic and pessimistic.  Change happens, and we need to deal with it. Of course environmental impact is part of this.  It’s a logical extension of nearly all the examples I mentioned.  And just because we have big problems now doesn’t mean that they aren’t ultimately solvable.  But we drive our own focus.  If you feel they are important, then you need to start convincing other people that they are worth fixing rather than throwing your hands up and saying we’re all doomed.

            Also, don’t dismiss any solutions, even space.  We aren’t the engineers that will be solving these problems.  Let them say what won’t work.  Yes machines are a failure point, yes it’s a vulnerability, but terraforming technology doesn’t really exist yet, so we don’t know what’s possible and what’s not.

            Life expectancy is increasing regardless of this article’s topic, and we’ll need to figure out what to do.  What is your solution?  Do we adapt and learn to change and minimize our impact while also keeping everyone happy and provided for and productive citizens?  Do we perish?  It’s our responsibility to communicate and engineer, and we will fail if we don’t do these things.  So change we must.

            Yes, the wealthy will probably get rejuvenated organs first, but that’s how economics work.  But what about vaccines, antibiotics, antivirals (HIV), joint replacement, heart valve stents, etc?  Expensive at first, but economies of scale make everything better and more affordable in the long run.  Or, we make it a national priority (like polio, or iodine in salt) and get rid of problems in a unified effort.  Ultimately, this should pay off for everyone.

          • Romodon

            Your post is so depressing, it makes me want to blast suicide punk rock and shoot up heroin.

          • nerys

             there is no such thing as live withing your biological limits. if you don’t you die. there is no inbetween. our issue is not living within our means. out issue is greed and the abject WASTE this fosters.

        • Ohs0fast

          Althoguh I agree, I disagree that some of our ‘solutions’ are worth their weight.  Take food for instance, in order to create a supply which matches demand we have begun using pesticides, genetic engineering, and inhumane treatment of farm animals all leading to significant decrease in our health. So, I guess, this is just another solution to that, but being in the learning curve and watching half the people you know die to cancer kind of sucks

          • Since1638

             I appreciate your comment and concerns.  Cancer does suck, and I empathize with you.  We’ve created that problem for ourselves.  Your term “learning curve” is pretty accurate.  Civilization has been one huge learning experience for us, and we’ve been far too short-sighted when it comes to solving problems.  Part of that is not knowing the consequences of our actions, some of it is apathy.

            Genetic engineering is like fire.  It’s a tool with the ability to solve very profound problems and simultaneously wreak enormous amounts of damage.  We need to be very smart and very careful.  Humans will always make use out of whatever they can, and genetic engineering won’t go away now that it exists.  It’s up to us to make sure it is used wisely.

            I choose to be optimistic that we will get ahead of our learning curve at some point.  I don’t ultimately know if we will, but I do know that humanity will keep multiplying regardless.  We’re in a sink or swim situation, so let’s do what we can to swim and not destroy the pool while we splash around.  Anyway, that’s my view.


      • nerys

         actually one of the BEST things we could do is extend human life to around 300 years. one of the  major problems we have today is a lack of consequences. action reaction always apply but you can “delay” the reaction and today you can delay the reaction to longer than your life span. IE you can release “crap” to roll downhill and know you won’t BE THEIR when the crap gets to where you “were” because your dead.

        if human’s lived to 300 years there are not many things you could do where the CONSEQUENCES of those decisions would not come back to haunt you later in life.

        IE it would (eventually) add what is missing today. accountability.

        • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

          It’s not the lack of lifespan that shields us from consequences, it’s modern technology coupled with toxic human “culture.”

          • nerys

             you sound like “one of those” kinds of people. probably not worth replying to you.

            lifespan limitations shields us from the consequences.

            Technology is irrelevant for the most part.

            greed is what makes is want to abuse the system lifespan lets us get away with it.

        • Proshot

           I agree we need some accountability but this wouldn’t resolve banksters and corporate criminals. Corporations already live forever and many commit crimes for generations. Part of the human makeup is denial. Few  expect to get caught and punished. Longer isn’t going to change that. 

          • nerys

             yes and no. longer would allow “US” to experience both the cause and the effect and allow us to “LINK” them in a more meaningful manner. when the cause was before you were born its hard to blame someone currently alive for it. its hard to make that causal trail have any real meaning or cause any action usually until its too late.

            its not denial. at least not first. its laziness and apathy. we are no different than the rest of nature. we typically try to take the path of least resistance.

            fighting back is hard work. it takes a lot of effort. so typically we don’t unless we feel like we REALLY have too. those in power prey on this and they get better at it year after year this is the REASON we have a welfare state now. think about that.

            with the exception of the formation of the united state (the only exception I am aware of) all revolts/revolutions are derived from the same thing ultimately IE in the end this is what drives them

            HUNGER. when people get hungry that is when fighting back becomes easier than just “going along” since now going along means STARVING.

            if you can keep a population FED and mildly entertained (this is what the romans tried to do) they will tolerate an extraordinary amount of tyranny.

            this is WHY we crated such a vast welfare state….

      • Organizethepeople

        we are not running out of room, and if people live longer and become wiser we have more to teach the youth.

      • Art Toegemann

        Well Jeff, life extension isn’t for everyone; ironically the same answer for euthanasia.
        But in this great country of ours, if you want to opt out, by golly, you have the right, and I, for one, will defend that right to your death.

    • Proshot

       The reality is most of the great minds do little after their 20s. Newton took to religion.

      • Marc Lamphier

        Some do some don’t. Frank Lloyd Wright did his best work after the age of 60, and was working on the Guggenheim Museum in his 90s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.abernathy.7186 David Abernathy

    Where do I get this protein?

    • Ohs0fast

      Now that is the question…

  • jebwa sabony

    will this make my penis bigger, i really need a bigger penis.

    • Bill Tettly

      i want to inject in my balls.  i want huge balls.  well they aren’t small now but i want them to shoot a lot more sperm.  like a water hose.

      • Craig

        Wouldn’t reversing the aging process in your balls make them smaller?

    • Nothanks


    • chief_of_stuff

       It will turn your penis into a healthy mouse. Be careful.

  • Cas_blues

    This is how vampirism got started.

  • Bill Tettly

    I wonder if this will help for Alzheimer.  inject this into brains.

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      You go first.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    We’ve heard this before! There’s lots of money to be made just in researching this stuff. Still against using animals for this, because among the ethical problems involved, things that work in mice usually don’t work so well in humans (but the money keeps rolling in anyway).

    • Gagmebbyz

      Well what else are they supposed to test it on? You idiot

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Clearly, YOU will never make it for researcher of the year, since anyone that responds like this lacks either intelligence, or creativity, or both. 

        They used to use primates as crash test dummies (at Wayne State University), before they decided that ACTUAL CRASH TEST DUMMIES, were better!!! Maybe they should have used you instead of the primates, since you clearly can’t “think out of the box”.  Now Wayne State has switched to shelter dogs for their heart experiments (as if animals like this haven’t suffered enough). 

        Go back to the 19th century where you and many others belong.

      • Marc Lamphier

        This is not an idiotic comment. It is very true that drugs that work in mice do not often work in humans, for example immune responses are quite different, and this drug appears to be somehow involved in inflammation. The alternative is not human testing, but attempts to bridge mouse and human through cell-based studies.

        But , Mr Truth Seeker — believe me, there is not a lot of money to be made in research. It is a profession where you get paid very little until you have finished your post-doc, and after that you will be paid OK, but not great if you go into academia, and you will be paid decent but not rich if you go into pharma. I don’t know where people get the idea that researchers are rolling in dough. Grant money pays for equipment, supplies and overhead and may pay for post-doc or some part of faculty salaries, but again these are hardly grand. Post-docs get paid $35 ~ $45K typically.

        • The_Truth_Seeker

          Agree (for post docs) – but try being an independent researcher and inventor who doesn’t get any funding (especially from the government), who doesn’t get a cent unless everything pans out and who has the option of filing for patents using a patent attorney (at $15K a pop), or filing oneself. That will give you a whole new perspective on R&D risk-taking.  If your work doesn’t pan out – not one red cent for you (and you could be out $100K!).

        • The_Truth_Seeker

          Appreciate your comments and reading mine! R&D folks aren’t appreciated enough – especially post-docs. Good luck.

    • Aubreymae84

      I couldn’t agree more and in the new book “Whole” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell he expresses why testing on mice isn’t a good test after all. And how even tests on mice differ from tests on rats and for good reason. They are, in fact, different animals. 

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Thanks for the reply. I also think the only way to find better and faster ways to evaluate ideas in biology and medicine (when it will apply to humans), is by just deciding – now – to STOP using animals (unless the work will be to their benefit too and will not kill, or severely hurt them). I also support working with sick animals (such as dogs) with experimental treatments that are likely not to do them excessive harm and will not inflict pain on them and will not speed their death (such as new tailored cancer treatments). Not in favor of breading special animals for medical research, using shelter dogs, or doing anything that will definitely harm animals (i.e. believe in “Hippocratic oath for animals”).

  • Master Po


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527856964 Michael Harrelson

    great news

  • Mike

    NF kappa accumulation in a specific brain region was correlated with whole organism aging.   I wonder how chronic inflammation affects GDF-11?  Or shortening of telomeres?   Is there a spark before the flame that can be identified and extinguished prior to GDF-11 decline?

    • http://www.danaseilhan.com Dana Seilhan

      That would actually be *more* useful.  This discovery will only enrich the bank accounts of Big Pharma CEOs.  It’s not going to be cheap like aspirin.

      • Romodon

        Next thing you know, the common folk will be harvested by our immortal overlords for sustenance, since we cannot afford to live when they accumulate all the wealth in the world. Human farms making Soylent Green.

      • 3rdparty

        I rarely comment, but your morbid outlook has forced my hand. Please, cheer up or shut up.

      • Marc Lamphier

        Aspirin was once the exclusive product of a big Pharma, Bayer. If big Pharma comes up with drugs that extend our lives, I’ll be happy to give them a bunch of money. And over time, the drug will become another aspirin.

    • Ghammers

      Look at the Astragalus Root telomere lengthening studies.

  • Jennyrees

    So translate it for ordinary people.  What do we eat?

  • Hussein_almayya7

    If this project succeed. It will only solve the problem of few people,normal aging people. Not diseased nor killed. And of course…not sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrewroy.doussept Andrew Roy Doussept

    It’s never going to happen. Unless you have MONEY. So, all you people with less than 500K in the bank. You are going to have to find out how to mine your own gdf-11

  • Ashtonwilson

    just test it on human prisoners..

  • william wesley

    OK, here is what will happen; a patent will be applied for and granted. Then having been granted monopoly status for 17 years by the patent the makers will inflate the cost of this protein far beyond the cost of production or any reasonable return on R&D, the  excluded poor will see no access and be left to die while the pampered elite will have ample access so the former can go on being a burden to the latter for even longer than otherwise would have been the case.  When a politically oppressive system invents something that might otherwise confer benefit it tends to act destructively instead, for example the technological achievements of the former Soviet Socialist Republic only helped hasten its demise, instead of conferring benefit in the absence of justice they only conferred liability instead. Without social justice technological advance is FUTILE.

    • Spammy

      Not applying medicine to the needy and poor looks more like the system that is ran by the United States. In my opinion social justice is providing drugs and medical attention at a fair price in favour of everyone, rich, poor: ‘intelligent, less intelligent’, etc… (correct me if I’m wrong, I might have misunderstood what you were saying, English is not my mother tongue)

      On the subject: does this ‘treatment’ actually provide a longer life span? Not just a more comfortable life? Ofcourse people with heart diseases will live longer, but all the other diseases and illnesses haven’t been cured yet. And if we live longer I don’t see a problem. As stated before: people will find new solutions to newly emerging problems as they will have more time. And humans are resourcefull.

      Just my 2 cents.

  • Studiolomprez

    I suffered my first heart attack at the age of 39 and the
    only reason I am alive today  is due to
    science. I have had two more since I am just trying to still alive long enough to
    see my son graduate high school . I see allot of social bullshit responses on
    here debating on how we should or should not extend the lifespan of mankind .
    Obviously they are not aware we have already done this through modern medicine,
    Now this is amazing research and if they  need a human guinea pig  count me in and I do not care if it should
    have dire results  as I know the
    suffering that a failing heart can cause.

    • Aubreymae84

      If I could recommend anything to those who have heart attacks, it would be the book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. His research with his patients is quite mind-boggling and I can’t help but recommend it to anyone with heart disease, who have suffered heart attacks because no one deserves such pain or fear of another one, or fear of not living a long life. So I would greatly recommend giving that book a chance. ~Aubrey

  • Webadage

    It wouldn’t matter if they discovered eating dirt cured cancer, someone would make it illegal to do so unless you paid someone to do it. It’s all about corporate America making money and has nothing to do with health.

    • Marc Lamphier

      no its not. My goodness.

  • Marc Lamphier

    Interesting, and whether it pans out or not, eventually we will find a way to extend our lifespans. Well, not “our” — I will have missed the boat I assume, but that’s OK, if it was good enough for my grandparents who am I to complain? I always thought that the drawback to longer life spans is that old folks would just hang on to power forever. I am thinking for example of dictators, if Stalin was still alive would the USSR still be communist? And in a smaller way, would change in our communities, our businesses, our families become very difficult? I think being in a world with long lives would make it tough on young people. Our ability as a society to adapt to change and challenges may be hampered. On the other hand, in some ways society may function better, since we will have a much larger number of experienced people who will know how to run things and how to handle adversity.


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000021092218 Crystal Stephens

    I’ll volunteer for human tests

  • Roscoe Taylor

    Just think of all those Old Mice just running around not truly knowing what they are there for..!!

  • David Allan Cole

    Think how far along we would be if we spent just HALF of the defense budget on Medical Research???????????

  • eman alshazly
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