Undoing Aging 2019
A sizeable part of the human genome is comprised of non-coding DNA that harbors ancient viruses. One such virus, LINE-1, remains active to this day. Activation of LINE-1 in cells triggers antiviral defense mechanisms that produce chronic inflammation, a hallmark of aging. Since LINE-1 activity irreversibly damages DNA, cells have developed several strategies to suppress it. However, innate suppression mechanisms weaken with age, so one of our goals is to create therapies to help our body keep retroelements in check.
By developing drugs against retroelements, we aim to effectively silence their activity, preventing the DNA damage and inflammation associated with cancer and age-related diseases.