Are some people genetically likely to live longer?

Despite millennia of trying to figure it out, mankind has yet to discover the key to living a longer life.  Or have they?

Researchers from Boston University and Tufts Medical Center found people who live to be 100 years old or older – called centenarians – may have a unique composition of immune cells that’s highly protective against illnesses, according to a study published in the journal Lancet eBiomedicine.

“Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that enable (them) to recover from disease and reach extreme old ages,” said lead author Tanya Karagiannis, a senior bioinformatician at the Center for Quantitative Methods and Data Science, and Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center.

People with normal immune systems are exposed to infections, recover from them, and learn to adapt from future infections. While the immune system’s ability to respond to infections declines with age, scientists hypothesized this may be different for centenarians.