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Babraham Institute in Cambridge announced on Thursday researchers had successfully rejuvenated skin cells.
Scientists reprogrammed adult skin cells to look and behave 30 years younger than the original.
The technique cannot be taken to a clinic yet because previous studies have found it may increase the risk for cancer.
A team in the Babraham Institute in Cambridge has successfully rejuvenated a 53-year-old woman's skin cells to look and behave like a 23-year-old's, the research center announced on Thursday.
The team had initially set out to create embryonic stem cells, which can divide into any type of cell in the body, using adult cells. Nobel Award winner Shinya Yamanaka, a researcher at Kyoto University in Japan, first turned "normal" cells that have a specific function into stem cells back in 2006.
The BBC reported German molecular biologist Wolf Reik, postdoctoral student Diljeet Gill, and a team at Babraham Institute built upon Yamanaka's work. Yamanaka grew stem cells by exposing adult cells to four molecules for about 50 days — a unique method he named iPS. Reik and Gill's team exposed skin cells to the same molecules for only 13 days, then let them grow under natural conditions.
By studying collagen production in the cells, the researchers found age-related changes on skin cells were removed and they temporarily lost their identity. After growing under normal conditions for a period of time, researchers found the cells began behaving like skin cells again.
The team then measured age-related biological changes in the reprogrammed cells, and found the cells matched the profile of those 30 years younger to reference data sets, Gill said in a release.
"I remember the day I got the results back and I didn't quite believe that some of the cells were 30 years younger than they were supposed to be," Gill told BBC. "It was a very exciting day."
The research was done in a lab, and Reik told the BBC the team cannot take the technique to a clinic because the technique used to rejuvenate the cells has the potential to increase the risk of cancer, likely due to creating lasting genetic changes within cells.
But the biologist said the method of rejuvenating cells could help speed up healing time in burn victims, and may eventually extend human life.
"Eventually, we may be able to identify genes that rejuvenate without reprogramming, and specifically target those to reduce the effects of aging," Reik said in a press release.
The researchers published their findings in the journal eLife on April 8.
Read the original article on Insider