Three papers on two studies were published online recently, one in the journal Nature Medicine, and two others in the journal Science. Two of the papers, from Harvard University, focused on a protein called GDF11 that's more abundant in the blood of younger mice than old ones. That protein is also found in human blood, and its concentration also appears to decline with age, said Amy Wagers, an author on both Harvard papers.
In the other study, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco used mice that were roughly the age equivalents of humans in their 20s and 60s. The older mice were repeatedly injected with blood from either younger animals or aged mice. Those that got the young blood did better in learning and memory tests than the mice given the older blood.
But what sounds like a wonder treatment could have drawbacks. “It is quite possible that it will dramatically increase the incidence of cancer,” Irina Conboy, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California at Berkeley, told the New York Times. “You have to be careful about overselling it.”
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