Israeli scientists have used gene editing to extend the life expectancy of mice by 23 percent. Can it be done to humans?

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Credit: Joel Page/AP
Credit: Joel Page/AP

Researchers at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel said they’ve been able to increase the supply of SIRT6, a protein responsible for DNA repair, in 250 mice, according to The Times of IsraelThe scientists said that the mice who had the treatment done were also livelier and had lower instances of cancer than mice that did not.

“The change in life expectancy is significant, when you consider that an equivalent jump in human life expectancy would have us living on average until almost 120,” [said researcher] Haim Cohen.

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While SIRT6 levels in mice were boosted by genetically modifying them, Cohen and his team are looking into how drugs could do the same for people. He said that they might be just two or three years away from making this a reality. 

“We are developing small molecules that may increase the levels of SIRT6, or make existing amounts of the protein more active,” Cohen told the Times of Israel. “They may be used in the future to address aging.”

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