UNSW researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars. Their experiments in mice suggest a treatment is possible for DNA damage from ageing and radiation. It is so promising it has attracted the attention of NASA, which believes the treatment can help its Mars mission.
The scientists identified that the metabolite NAD+, which is naturally present in every cell of our body, has a key role as a regulator in protein-to-protein interactions that control DNA repair. Treating mice with a NAD+ precursor, or "booster," called NMN improved their cells' ability to repair DNA damage caused by radiation exposure or old age.
"The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice, after just one week of treatment," said lead author Professor David Sinclair of UNSW School of Medical Sciences and Harvard Medical School Boston.
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