Each cell uses different parts of the genome to perform specialized roles. The set of genes that are “on” or “off” in each cell is controlled by a set of molecules known as the epigenome. Aging and disease can disrupt the normal epigenetic landscape in many cell types, leading to a loss of cell function and ultimately disease.
Remarkable experiments in recent decades have shown that we can “reprogram” the epigenome to change a cell’s type and function. We can turn skin cells into brain, liver, or muscle cells by activating only a handful of genes that govern the epigenome. By manipulating these reprogramming factor genes, we can control complex gene programs with targeted interventions.
Epigenetic reprogramming can also change the age and capability of a cell. In the most extreme example, we can reprogram an old mouse cell all the way back to an embryonic state, then develop that embryo into a whole young animal with a full life ahead of it. Even temporary activation of reprogramming factors can alleviate symptoms of diverse age-related diseases, from nerve damage to fibrosis.
NewLimit is harnessing this biology to develop new medicines for age-related diseases. We are standing on the shoulders of giants in this endeavor, taking advantage of tremendous advancements in single cell genomics, epigenetic editing, and machine learning to overcome traditional roadblocks to epigenetic reprogramming.