DNA Methylation Biomarker of Aging for Human Ex Vivo and In Vivo Studies

Tech ID: 29693 / UC Case 2018-851-0


A UCLA researcher in the Department of Human Genetic and Biostatistics has developed a DNA methylation biomarker for detecting aging in humans.


Pharmacological agents have delayed the aging process in model organisms (yeast, worm, flies), yet aging delay in human cells through such interventions remains unexplored. To facilitate effective in vitro and ex vivo studies, there is a need for robust biomarkers of aging for human fibroblasts and other widely used cell types. One potential biomarker that has gained significant interest in recent years is DNA methylation (DNAm). Several DNAm-based biomarkers of aging have been developed, and these epigenetic age estimators exhibit statistically significant associations with many age-related diseases and conditions. However, existing DNAm-based biomarker have sub-optimal accuracy when it comes to measuring age in fibroblasts or other cells that are routinely used in in vitro and ex vivo studies.


The inventor has developed a new DNA methylation-based biomarker that accurately measures the age of human cell types widely used for in vitro studies and ex vivo studies. These cell types include human fibroblasts, keratinocytes, buccal cells, endothelial cells, blood-, skin-, and saliva samples, and more. This measurement applies to samples for the entire age span from newborns (e.g., cord blood samples) to centenarians. The biomarker can study whether a given intervention increases, slows, or even reverses aging in ex vivo studies. The biomarker can also measure age-based human cell types with high accuracy. An age-adjusted measure of DNAm in blood can also potentially predict human lifespan.


  • Biomarker for ex vivo studies of anti-aging interventions 
  • Personalized medicine 
  • Forensic applications involving human specimens 
  • Age assessment for corroborating/refuting an age claim


  • Estimates age in human cell types that are widely used for ex vivo studies: fibroblasts, endothelial cells 
  • Estimates age with high accuracy using human tissues and fluids that can be easily collected: blood, saliva, buccal swabs, skin samples 
  • Applies to samples for the entire age span from newborns (e.g., cord blood samples) to centenarians 
  • Can study whether a given intervention increases, slows, or even reverses aging 
  • Can predict human lifespan

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
Patent Cooperation Treaty Published Application 2019232320 12/05/2019 2018-851

Additional Patent Pending

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  • Horvath, Stefan

Other Information


Biomarkers, aging, DNA methylation, in vitro studies, ex vivo studies, human life span, epigenetic age estimators

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