Stem cells are responsible for tissue maintenance, delivering replacement somatic cells and a variety of signals that help to keep organs and other biological systems running. There are many varieties of stem cell, at least one for every tissue type, and all have significant differences in their biochemistry. Unfortunately, one of the shared behaviors in all stem cell populations is a slowing of activity with advancing age, an evolved response to rising levels of damage in cells and tissues that probably serves to reduce the risk of cancer, but at the cost of a decline into organ failure, as essential maintenance shuts down.
The research here is characteristic of a wide range of initiatives that seek to find signal and regulator proteins that can override the evolved reduction in stem cell activity. The aim is to increase activity to youthful levels, and thus avoid the slowdown. Evidence from stem cell therapies and a variety of other approaches to regenerative medicine suggest that this will not cause as great a risk of cancer as feared, even though it doesn’t address the underlying damage in cells. Forcing damaged cells in a damaged environment into greater activity must have adverse consequences at
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