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Can we reverse aging in dogs through gene therapy? If so, humans could be next.

The world’s most influential synthetic biologist is behind a new company that plans to rejuvenate dogs using gene therapy. If it works, he plans to try the same approach in people, and he might be one of the first volunteers.

The stealth startup Rejuvenate Bio, cofounded by George Church of Harvard Medical School, thinks dogs aren’t just man’s best friend but also the best way to bring age-defeating treatments to market.

The company, which has carried out preliminary tests on beagles, claims it will make animals “younger” by adding new DNA instructions to their bodies.

The team hit on the idea of treating pets because proving that it’s possible to increase longevity in humans would take too long. “You don’t want to go to the FDA and say we extend life by 20 years. They’d say, ‘Great, come back in 20 years with the data,’” Church said during the event in Boston.

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Instead, Rejuvenate will first try to stop fatal heart ailments common in spaniels and Doberman pinschers.

[I]s it “age reversal” or merely a form of disease prevention? To Church, the answer lies in whether an old dog’s body can heal like that of a young one. In any case, he predicts, pet owners won’t worry about semantics “if the dog is jumping around wagging its tail.”

Read full, original post: A stealthy Harvard startup wants to reverse aging in dogs, and humans could be next

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