Researchers delivered a modified RNA that encodes a telomere-extending protein to cultured human cells. Cell proliferation capacity was dramatically increased, yielding large numbers of cells for study.
…The newly developed technique has an important advantage over other potential methods: It’s temporary. The modified RNA is designed to reduce the cell’s immune response to the treatment and allow the TERT-encoding message to stick around a bit longer than an unmodified message would. But it dissipates and is gone within about 48 hours. After that time, the newly lengthened telomeres begin to progressively shorten again with each cell division.
This is very important because the big danger in telomere lengthening is the immortalization of cells, meaning cancer. Telomere lengthening is old hat but the transcience factor is huge for anti-cancer and immune response. Reason being that transient telomere lengthening allows for a rejuvenation of cells without tumorigenesis. Safely reverting the senescence response is absolutely crucial to ending aging. However if this telomere lengthening increases lifespan, then there’s more time in which you may develop cancer or other illness from a mutation. Does this technique increase the chances of cancer above what you’d expect solely from having lived for a longer duration?
This could be the key to making it economical and practical to grow beef or chicken muscle in a manufacturing facility… Vegetarians, how do you feel about sustainable lab-cultured meat?
That said, I’m quite worried about the impact to society and environment. Competition for resources and work will increase as turnover because of retirement is less likely to happen. And it’d be compounded by the continuing advancements in automated technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots. Also: