London, Nov 14 : In a breakthrough study, Spanish scientists have created a genetically modified 'supermice' that can resist cancer and which age almost half as fast as other mice.
The research team from Valencia University modified the genes of the mice to make them resistant to cancer and slow down aging by increasing the amount of a particular protein called telomerase.
The protein helps cells to regenerate, allowing them to stay younger for longer.
Previous studies had shown that attempts to increase the amount of the protein in mice made them more vulnerable to cancer.
In the new study, the researchers modified the genes of the mice in such away that made it resistant to the disease.
The resulting mice were found to have better muscle in old age, healthier skin tissue and fewer digestion problems.
The mice aged 40 per cent slower than those whose genes have not been modified.
"By simultaneously increasing the amounts of telomerase and the resistance to cancer we are able to delay ageing in mice and also to extend their life span by 40 per cent," the Telegraph quoted Maria A. Blasco, lead researcher from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO).
"These mice get to live for as long as the eldest mice in records of the same kind,
"If we were to parallel it to humans, then it would mean reaching 120 years of age and also to start ageing much later in life," she added.