Stem cells ‘will enable us to live to 200’

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Stem cells will enable people to live to an average of 200 years, a Nottingham-based stem cell bank has claimed.

It pointed to trials in the United States where frail elderly patients had seen their breathing and movement improve with an infusion of stem cells.

However, the claim from Stem Protect was met with scepticism from scientists.

One said there was no evidence any stem cells could prolong life for that long.

Mark Hall, of Stem Protect, said the human body could be repaired and restored from any health problem using stem cells.

He said: “In just the same way as we might replace a joint, such as a hip, with a specially-made synthetic device, we can now replace cells in the body with new cells which are healthy and younger versions of the ones they’re replacing.

“That means we can replace diseased or ageing cells – and parts of the body – with entirely new ones which are completely natural and healthy.”

The company added: “The potential for cosmetic- and health-related uses are countless, and could stall ill health and ageing to the point where we extend our lives by more than a century.”

The trials in Miami involved groups of 15 and 30 patients with an average age of 78.

But Dr Greg Findlay, a stem cell researcher and programme leader at the school of life sciences at the University of Dundee, said it wasn’t known whether age-extending stem cells would work in humans.

“It has been shown in mice that increasing stem cell activity can lead to dramatic increases in lifespan. There is huge promise of stem cell therapies of this type, but there is a long way to go. The effects of the stem cells in the trial would be fairly marginal and it is very unlikely patients would see significant clinical benefit.”

Daniel R Brison, professor of clinical embryology and stem cell biology at the University of Manchester, said: “I don’t know of any evidence that any type of stem cells have the potential to extend life to age 200. The public should treat this with caution as it is publicity from a private company offering a commercial service banking stem cells.”

Alena Pance, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said diseases in old age could make life unbearable: “Though a higher count of better stem cells [might help], I don’t see concrete evidence this could be the solution to age-associated disease.”