For #ScienceSunday, we turn to a recent article published online showing that a modified mRNA version of the telomerase protein (TERT) can extend the telomeres in a dose-dependent fashion. This method has the advantage of not being permanent, as with gene therapy.
This is of limited practical significance because unlike in the laboratory, in your bodies, messenger RNA must be manufactured in the stem cells and cannot be directly injected as with study, let alone absorbed by mouth.
Even if given intravenously, there would be no way of targeting specific cells with such a treatment.
What is interesting is that it speaks to the fact that normal human telomerase is made with a limited potency due possibly to its efficient degradation. The alteration of the wild-type mRNA just a little, seemed to allow the new hTERT to linger until it too was disassembled. In the future, the mechanisms for intracellular telomerase ecology will need to be elucidated but this experiment is an important piece of that puzzle.
Here is the link to the original article: