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Growing old, yet staying young: The role of telomeres in bats’ exceptional longevity

Some bats display remarkable longevity and don’t get cancer – but up until now no one knew how this was possible. An international team headed by researchers at University College Dublin has identified a key genetic difference in bats that helps them counter the effects of ageing. The researchers predict their work may ultimately help to unlock the secrets of slowing down the ageing process and extending “health-span” in humans, ie how long a person stays healthy. The biologists studied wild populations of bats as they aged and focused on one known ageing process: the shortening of the protective caps at the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. This occurs with age in nearly every animal

CNIO (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre) researchers cure lung fibrosis in mice with a gene th

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a potentially lethal disease associated with the presence of critically short telomeres, currently lacking effective treatment. The Telomere and Telomerase Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has succeeded in curing this disease in mice using a gene therapy that lengthens the telomeres. This work constitutes a "proof of concept that telomerase activation represents an effective treatment against pulmonary fibrosis," the authors write in their publication in the journal eLife. Given that telomere shortening is also an indicator of organism ageing, Maria A. Blasco, lead author of the paper, points out that "this is the first time that pu

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