Scientists at the Spanish National Cancer Center in Madrid, Spain, think that by boosting a certain enzyme naturally created in the body, a person could live a longer life, London’s Daily Telegraph reported.
Scientists say the finding may one day pave the way to create a product that would have a fountain of youth effect.
As the body ages, cells divide, leading the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes to become shorter and ragged. Eventually, the cell dies.
But increasing the amount of the enzyme telomerase appears to rejuvenate the protective caps, thus keeping them from unraveling.
Maria Blasco, who led the team of researchers, told New Scientist the enzymes were capable of “turning a normal, mortal cell into an immortal cell.”
The team genetically engineered mice to produce 10 times the amount of telomerase that a body normally has. They found the mice lived 50 percent longer than usual.
The mice also had an increased tolerance for glucose and less subcutaneous fat.
The downside to increasing the amounts of telomerase in the body is that it can increase the risk of developing cancer.
Blasco said she believes cancer drugs would negate this side effect, however.