Scientists discover technique to repair DNA


Scientists at Harvard University and the University of New South Wales have identified a possible way to repair damaged DNA through reversing aging. This new discovery could aid  astronauts in travelling to Mars.

This research, published in the Journal of Science Magazine, identifies the method used. While cells have the ability to repair DNA, the ability for that process withers away as a person ages. Scientists found a way to give human cells the energy they need to continue repairing DNA throughout old age.

This is through a process that allows our bodies to continue producing NAD+ — an enzyme found in living organisms — in old age. The process occurs by injecting NAD+ into our bodies. This enzyme begins to deteriorate as you get older, causing your cells to become less able to repair DNA.

Scientists tested this process by giving lab rats a booster called NMN, which inputs large amounts of NAD+ into their bodies. They found that the rats given this compound were less susceptible to aging as well as radiation from the sun.

This new research has the possibility to impact the future of the human race through the effects of anti-aging.

“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well,” said David Sinclair, Harvard and University of New South Wales professor.

Human trials of NMN boosters will begin this year in Boston, Massachusetts.The idea is to incorporate NMN into a pill for humans to take in order to reverse the aging of a person.

NASA has also taken notice in the NMN research. The challenge to keep astronauts healthy while in space is difficult due to the radiation induced accelerated aging. NASA astronauts also deal with muscle weakness and memory loss. Muscle and bone density loss is caused by the effects of zero gravity. These negative side-effects from space travel can possibly be altered with the addition of NAD+ into an astronaut’s system.

Within the next few years, Sinclair and his team aim to finish their studies on NAD+ in order to further the quest for anti-aging.