Living longer and disease-free: Teenager's book delves into research about increasing lifespan
- All of 17, this teenager has written a book that delves into research about increasing average lifespan of a human and fighting age-related ailments
The fear of losing your parents and seeing them suffer from age-related ailments is unbearable for all of us. But very few would go to the extent of trying to change the course of nature. All of 17, Lakshya Sharma, a class 12 student of DPS, Sector 45, Gurgaon, is showing deep interest in research about extending average human life and treatment of age-related ailments and has come up with a book titled “Cellular Senescence & Secretory Phenotypes through the lens of Ageing, In Vivo Reprogramming Technology," published by Notion Press that delves into Cellular senescence, a biological factor that causes ageing. The book features research done in the field so far by international experts.
“There are many biological factors affecting the aging of an organism. Cellular Senescence is the single most druggable biological factor that causes aging. What I mean by druggable is that it can be controlled or altered through the use of appropriate drugs. When we perturb this biology animals continue to age but they age with a possible longer lifespan and health span," says the student of DPS, Sector 45, Gurgaon who's planning to pursue higher studies in USA next.
Love for his parents and curiosity about things happening around him got Lakshya interested in the topic.
“I had lost my grandmother due to cancer and was in agony about her loss. I did not want to lose my parents to any ailments or due to their old-age any time soon. I wanted the presence of my mother and my father till I am alive. Living without them would seem meaningless to me. I decided to read about how can I increase the number of years that they can live and making sure that they don’t suffer from any ailments in their old-age as I could not absorb to see them impaired,” the teenage prodigy told HT Digital
Lakshya envisions a world where senior citizens can live a disease-free life. "Imagine we are old without actually being old," he says. According to the young author, researchers in USA experimented on mice by removing their senescent cells after which they found that the animals survived longer and didn't suffer from any age-related chronic disease like vision loss, hearing loss, osteoarthritis among others.
Lakshya's deep interest in research from a very young age led him to work under various veteran researchers at top IITs where he came across this term senescence and its impact on ageing and he did not look back after that.
"I had a general interest in the research from a very young age and I was particularly curious about things that were happening around me so I wanted to dig deeper, I wanted to read more about it. I had connected with couple of professors in the past couple of years and I had also worked at a couple of laboratories in top IITs like IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi. At IIT Bombay I got motivation for writing my book because while working there, under the professor at a lab, he had explained me how the protein analysis was going on in cancer. So, from there, I read about this particular term called senescence," Lakshya said in a telephonic conversation.
"Senescence is a cellular condition brought on by internal or external stressors that causes cell cycle halt, morphological alterations, mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Terminally developed somatic cells may now be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells or another differentiated state using reprogramming technologies. During cellular reprogramming, epigenetic regulation undergoes a dynamic rearrangement. Reprogramming can be used to actively adjust epigenetic regulation since it does not need modifications to the underlying DNA. Although reprogramming has primarily been studied at the cellular level in vitro, investigations have shown that somatic cells in multicellular animals may be reprogrammed in vivo," read the synopsis of the book.
Lakshya is a normal teenager when not researching and says that speech, debate and theatrical performances are his other interest areas.