Fountain of youth for cells

Reprogrammed cells allow wounds in older people to heal faster. This could, for example, help burn victims.

 G.V. Shivashankar arbeitet am PSI und der ETH Zürich

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and ETH Zurich have reprogrammed aged cells from real skin and inserted them into a model of old, injured skin tissue in the laboratory.

According to PSI, this significantly accelerated wound healing. The reason: similar to a reformatted hard drive, the reprogramming of cells also deletes functional errors that the old cells had accumulated during the ageing process. This makes them faster, like a newly installed computer, when they run newly installed programmes.

In future, therapies based on reprogrammed cells will be used to treat major skin injuries, such as those that occur after burns. Until now, tissue has been taken from uninjured parts of the body or from other people for the treatment of such injuries and applied to the injured area.

Cells in youthful condition

However, according to PSI, tissue from other people can be rejected. And in the case of older people's own skin, it is often difficult to obtain enough of it in sufficient quality.

The reprogrammed cells have the special characteristic that they are in an undifferentiated, so to speak youthful state. Depending on the environment in which they multiply, they can mature into different types of cells, including skin cells.

Written by: sda

Photos: PSI/Markus Fischer

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