Scientists have found a new vitamin which can be useful in repairing the damaged DNA. It can be effective in reverse aging, fight cancer and also in space travel.
The study was published in the journal Science. The scientists identified a vitamin called NAD+ which is naturally present in every cell of our body and is regulating the interactions that control DNA repair.
They experimented it in mice with an NAD+ precursor or “booster” called NMN which improved their cells’ ability to repair DNA damage caused by radiation exposure or old age.
Professor at University of New South Wales in Australia, David Sinclair said, “The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice, after just one week of treatment.”
This may help to drugs to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s and protect astronauts from radiation during their various missions to space. According to the researchers, this will also help to mitigate any effects of DNA damage for frequent flyers.
The scientists said NAD+ could be useful for treating age-related diseases, female fertility as well as the side effects of chemotherapy. Trials on humans of this NMN therapy will begin within six months.
Sinclair said, “This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well.”
Researchers say NASA is excited about the research, which is considering the challenge of keeping its astronauts healthy during a four-year Mars mission.
The astronauts suffer aging problem even on short missions. Due to the cosmic radiation, they suffer memory loss, muscle weakness and other problems. Mission to Mars would be worse as five percent of the astronauts’ cells would die which increase the chances of cancer.
Last year in December, Sinclair and his UNSW colleague Lindsay Wu were the winners in NASA’s iTech competition. Wu said, “We came in with a solution for a biological problem and it won the competition out of 300 entries.”
Researchers said the childhood cancer survivors would also get benefit from this work. Wu stated 96% of the childhood cancer survivors suffer a chronic illness by age 45. “All of this adds up to the fact they have accelerated ageing, which is devastating. It would be great to do something about that, and we believe we can with this molecule,” Wu said.