Yamanaka Factors: Hidden Genes of Anti-Aging Stem Cells

UltimateHuman Team Apr 20, 2022
80 People Read
Yamanaka factors role to reverse aging

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What if you could make the cells in your body slow down — or even reverse — the process of getting older?

You could watch as wrinkles disappear, hair regrows, joints return to their youthful function, and more...

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Well, in 2007, a Japanese medical researcher figured out how to do just that...

And in doing so, his Nobel prize-winning effort paved the way for a more ethical way to source breakthrough stem cells.

The secret came from what are now known as "Yamanaka Factors."

Here's everything you need to know about them in 3 minutes or less:

What Are Yamanaka Factors?

Named after Dr. Shinya Yamanaka... the researcher credited with this world-changing discovery...

Yamanaka Factors are the 4 genes that allow regular cells to transform into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) — cells that can become any type of cell.

Their scientific names are: Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and cMyc (or OSKM).

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Dr. Yamanaka in 2010 (Source: NIH)

Dr. Yamanaka first studied to become a surgeon...

But after his father's untimely death due to complications from diabetes and hepatitis...

He switched his focus to medical research to find new treatments to help people with the same afflictions as his father suffered from.

Inspired by previous cellular research that showed the potential for mature cells to be reprogrammed — without the use of controversial embryonic tissue...

Dr. Yamanaka got to work.

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Yamanaka Factors: A Medical Breakthrough

Alongside his colleague, Dr. Kazutoshi Takahashi...

Dr. Yamanaka got his breakthrough in 2006.

He was able to take the skin cell fibroblasts from mice and transform them into stem cells, or iPSCs, that were nearly identical to embryonic stem cells

A year later, he did the same thing with human skin cells.

This discovery answered the aged-old question, "Can old cells become young again?" with a definitive, "Yes!"

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This is important because it was previously thought that stem cells had many complex factors that contributed to their flexibility.

But when Dr. Yamanaka revealed that it was the simple expression of 4 genes...

He showed the world how to create ethically sourced stem cells...

And provide much-needed hope for the future of biohacking & regenerative medicine.

In 2012, Dr. Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine with Sir John Gurdon for "the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent."

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This was fitting... because Gurdon originally inspired Yamanaka with his 1962 discovery that proved mature cells still contained the genetic information needed to form ALL types of cells.

Yamanaka Factors and Aging

So, what does this mean for the average person?

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As mentioned, the discovery of Yamanaka Factors was a big breakthrough in the field of stem cell research...

Now, instead of looking for stem cells from embryonic tissue...

Patients could provide themselves with their own stem cells, mostly with either their skin cells or blood cells.

And stem cell treatments are being studied and used to treat many things related to aging, like:

  • Neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and spinal cord injuries

  • Diseases & threats like diabetes, stroke, arthritis, blindness, and cancer

  • Cosmetic decline for things like aging skin, hair loss, or scars

  • And overall health energy, sexual function, pain relief, and more...

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As you can see, stem cells hold a promise to help many people — and even the potential to generate tissues and organs for in-need patients to use.

It was well-known that cells express different genetic patterns during their life that are unique to each phase... young or old...

Now we know what cells do when they are young.

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Thank you, Dr. Yamanaka!

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