The CNIO (Spanish National Cancer Research Center) is one of the three best cancer research centers worldwide and one of the ten best biomedical research centers in the world according to a SCImago 2011 report. A true source of pride.
One of its recent research studies has been declared “stem cells discovery of the year” by the prestigious medical journal Nature Medicine. The research involves reconverting adult somatic cells into embryonic stem cells within a living organism. This had been achieved previously, but never within a living organism, and led to this research receiving a Nobel prize in medicine in 2012.
Embryonic stem cells have the ability to transform into any type of cell, such as liver, heart, skin or bone cells. This regenerative medicine, which will be fully developed within the next 20 years, uses stem cells to repair and replace our organism’s diseased and injured tissues; an infarcted heart, a diabetic pancreas, or a brain with Alzheimer’s will all be repaired.
At present, it is possible to store embryonic stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord of a newborn child at the time of delivery. This is done so that in the future the child will be able to benefit from their very own stem cells whenever they get sick and when medical technology has sufficiently advanced. But what about those who were born before such umbilical cord cells could be obtained? The truth is that stem cells can also be obtained from some of our tissues, such as those deriving from fat or bone marrow; however, such cells do not have the same ability to transform into other cell types like embryonic cells can. These are poorer quality stem cells.
Currently we are already deriving stem cells from fat and re-injecting them under the skin for cosmetic purposes, or into the vein for healing and rejuvenating purposes. Nevertheless, there is still much to investigate before we can carry out true regenerative medicine.
At the Age Management conferences in the United States, it is not unusual to find labs that already offer the extraction and storage of your stem cells in order to have them ready and prepared, just in case. They argue that it is better to do it now, as soon as possible, so that your cells do not continue to age with you.
With the CNIO and the 2012 Nobel Prize research, this will no longer be necessary, since we can now reconvert cells from our aged bodies into true embryonic stem cells.
However, while such technologies are being fully developed, the best that we can do is to take care of our health and do everything possible to prevent diseases related to aging. This is precisely what we do at Neolife, the first Age Management clinic in Europe, which incorporates a systematic measurement of telomeres with the best technology available worldwide, provided by Life Length and the CNIO.