Breakthrough in ageing process

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RESEARCHERS have identified a drug therapy which could help children who suffer from a disease which causes premature ageing.

The 18-month study, led by Durham University, is the first to outline how to limit and repair DNA damage in cells and may offer an understanding in how the ageing process is caused.

The findings could help slow the degeneration of some tissues in older age and help deal with health management in countries where life expectancy is becoming longer.

As part of their work, the scientists looked at a group of inherited degenerative disorders which are caused by a gene mutation.

The most severe disorders, linked to mutation in the specific gene they considered, include Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome, a fatal disease which causes premature ageing in children.

The tests carried out by the Durham experts, who worked alongside researchers from the University of Bologna, found the drug N-acetyl cysteine could be used in combination with other medication to improve the health of those with Progeria.