Aging is clearly a complex process, and it is naive to assume a single mechanism is responsible for it. We age because it is coded for by evolution. If there was a selective advantage for limitless lifespans of individual members of a species, so it would be. It obviously benefits humans to have a five to ten decade lifespan, whereas such a long life is not as useful, for example, to members of the mouse species.
Having said that, there are processes within our cells the lead them to age and eventually die, finally taking the whole organism with them. It should be possible to block or greatly slow these processes
One key element of aging are reactive oxygen species (ROS). These molecules are created by the mitochondria within cells as they respire oxygen and generate fuel from food. As cells age, the mitochondria become less efficient and tend to spill more ROS. These ROS go on to damage the cells and their components causing them to become dysfunctional.
In theory it should be possible to create a small subcellular component that contains enzymes substrates within it that could neutralize ROS.
Reason from FightAging has uncovered a report showing that scientists have done exactly that, creating artificial peroxisomes.
The researchers call their devices “cell implants” and are nano polymer encapsulated vesicles that contain two enzymes which work in tandem. Inside the cells the enzymes are able to transform reactive oxygen species into oxygen and water.
Not only did they construct these devices but the scientists were able to prove both that they were taken up by cells and carried out their expected function within the cells.
We have shown that it is feasible to develop artiﬁcial organelles that can be taken up by cells and carry out the function of a speciﬁc natural organelle. This represents a milestone in the development of in vivo cell implants and a new frontier in medical therapy.
In the near future it may be possible to test cell implants like artificial peroxisomes or even mitochondria in living species and determine if they can extend lifespan. Indeed cell implants are likely to play an increasingly important role in medicine.