With a bit of clever genetic engineering, a team of scientists has just found an astonishing way to significantly expand the natural lifespan of mice. Now, at least one biotech company hopes to translate this breakthrough to fight aging in humans. In a study published today in the journal Nature, medical researchers at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine-led by cell biologists Darren Baker and Jan van Deursen-have made this decade’s biggest breakthrough in understanding the complex world of physical aging.

The researchers found that systematically removing a category of living, stagnant cells (ones which can no longer reproduce) extends the lives of otherwise normal mice by 25 percent. Better yet, scouring these cells actually pushed back the process of aging, slowing the onset of various age-related illnesses like cataracts, heart and kidney deterioration, and even tumor formation. “It’s not just that we’re making these mice live longer; they’re actually stay healthier longer too. That’s important, because if you were going to equate this to people, well, you don’t want to just extend the years of life that people are miserable or hospitalized,” says Baker. FULL REPORT