The germline/soma dichotomy: implications for aging and degenerative disease


Human somatic cells are mortal due in large part to telomere shortening associated with cell division. Limited proliferative capacity may, in turn, limit response to injury and may play an important role in the etiology of age-related pathology. Pluripotent stem cells cultured in vitro appear to maintain long telomere length through relatively high levels of telomerase activity. We propose that the induced reversal of cell aging by transcriptional reprogramming, or alternatively, human embryonic stem cells engineered to escape immune surveillance, are effective platforms for the industrialscale manufacture of young cells for the treatment of age-related pathologies. Such cell-based regenerative therapies will require newer manufacturing and delivery technologies to insure highly pure, identified and potent pluripotency-based therapeutic formulations. First draft submitted: 10 October 2015; Accepted for publication: 2 March 2016; Published online: 24 March 2016


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