Epigenetic alterations, changes to our gene expression that occur with age, are one of the proposed reasons we age. In December 2016, a team of researchers from the Salk Institute discovered that the intermittent expression of four genes normally associated with embryonic development could reverse some aspects of aging. They found that they were able to reverse the epigenetic alterations in old mice, thus switching their gene expression from an unhealthy, aged profile back to a healthy, youthful one. This transient expression of the four genes, called Yamanaka factors, is known as partial cellular reprogramming.
Turn.Bio is seeking to use partial cellular reprogramming to reverse these epigenetic alterations using transient mRNAs using six cell reprogramming factors. The approach activates the same OSKM factors but in a slightly different way using transient mRNAs. The researchers also added two more factors to the reprogramming mix to facilitate a more accurate reprogramming.