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Potential to Cure Diabetes and Reverse Aging

Irina Bochkis, PhD, UVA School of Medicine
Irina Bochkis, PhD, has made a discovery that could lead to a cure for diabetes or reverse aging.

A new research discovery from the School of Medicine about the effects of aging in our cells could help doctors cure diabetes, liver disease or possibly even reverse aging.

Our Cells Wrinkle As They Get Older Too

The research by Irina Bochkis, PhD, suggests that some of the unwanted effects of aging, like fatty liver disease, may be the result of our cell’s nuclei getting wrinkly. Those wrinkles can prevent our genes from functioning correctly. “Certain genes need to be on in the liver and they have to be turned off in the brain, for example, and vice versa. If they’re not turned off appropriately, then you have problems,” says Bochkis.

Bochkis has found that our livers can become covered with fat as we age because of these wrinkled cells. This can cause serious health complications such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The cause of this wrinkling is a lack of a substance called lamin, a type of cellular protein. If the lamin could be restored, then the wrinkles could be smoothed away. Bochkis has an idea to solve this problem – use modified viruses to deliver lamin back to the cells.

And if it works? “You’re going to have normal cells – normal, healthy cells – and they will appropriately express the genes that should be expressed and… you’re going to eradicate the stuff that shouldn’t be there,” she says.

Want more research news?

Visit our Making of Medicine blog to get the latest medical research news from UVA.

Reverse Aging By Smoothing Our Cells

More research will be required, but Bochkis suspects that stopping this wrinkling of our cells could potentially reverse aging itself. Stay tuned and read more about this exciting research discovery.

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