A team of researchers from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) has debunked the academia's "irreversibility of aging" paradigm, showing that it is possible for the aging process to be reversed.

Their findings, described in a paper published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, showed that certain enzymes and substances can reverse the aging process of humans by helping aging cells recover its function.

"The significance and implication of this study is that it is possible to reverse the recovery of aging cells by inhibiting and restoring the degradation of lysosomal function," said Park SangChul, Chair Professor at DGIST and lead author of the study, in a press release. "In the future, we will continue to conduct studies that extend the life expectancy of human beings by verifying and validating efficacy and safety through aging animal models."

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For the study, the researchers looked for factors that could control aging and find substances capable or restoring cell division capacity. Their search showed that KU-60019 substances could inhibit phosphorylation enzyme ATM protein, helping aging cells recover its functions through the activation of lysosomal functions and induction of cell proliferation.

The researchers confirmed that the ATM protein phosphorylate the vacuolar ATPase (v-ATPase) protein, causing a binding force between the units and constituting the v-ATPase to weaken. This results to the deterioration of lysosome functions.

Lysosomes are intracellular organelles responsible for autophagy and decomposition of biopolymers such as proteins and lipids in the cell. When lysosomes are not fully functional, biomolecules that must be removed in cells accumulate, causing metabolic instability.

The DGIST team observed that the ATM protein's activation can be regulated by KU-60019 substances. By inhibiting the activation of ATM protein, the researchers were able to reduce the phosphorylation of v-ATPase, inducing recovery of mitochondrial function and functional recovery of the lysosome and autophagy system, as well as also prompting wound healing in aging animal models.

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