NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Researchers in California may have discovered the fountain of youth, or at least a way to turn back the clock a few years.

It’s a cocktail of three readily available drugs.

But CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has a few things you need to know before you sign up.

First, all drugs have some side effects. This was a very small study of just nine older white men that compared their biological age to their calendar age. After taking the drug cocktail, their biological markers of aging actually reversed and got younger by an average of two and a half years.

It’s the never-ending search for the fountain of youth, turned into the hit movie “Cocoon” by Ron Howard where senior citizens get younger by bathing in a pool filled with extra-terrestrial alien pods.

But the reality is we haven’t found the secret to anti-aging, although we do know that it has to do with our DNA and our cells.

“Over time, the programming language in our cells, the DNA, becomes corrupted, and that corruption is just like how the software on your computer gets damaged. When that happens, your computer slows down and the same thing happens in our cells,” said Dr. Robert Hariri, CEO of Celularity, Inc.

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Hariri is a renowned scientist whose research has focused on understanding how and why we age and then how to counter the aging process. This latest study in the journal Aging Cell used a pharmaceutical approach to anti-aging, to correct that aging DNA code in our cells.

“This approach is to find a drug method to change or improve that programming, eliminate the corruption so that our cells are doing their job,” Hariri said.

The study researchers started with growth hormone, but that’s known to have a number of serious adverse effects in addition to its anti-aging effects. So they added Metformin and DHEA to counter those adverse effects. That led to a two-and-a-half-year reversal or improvement in a number of biological markers of aging, in effect making their cells biologically younger than their calendar age.

The trouble is, we don’t know the side effects of long-term use of those drugs. Hariri thinks a better and safer approach is to use stem cells and his company, Celularity, is commercializing an abundant source of those cells from human placentas.

The beauty of placenta stem cells, in addition to their abundance, is that they are one size fits all, meaning they don’t have the cellular markers that alert the immune system and ultimately lead to rejection.

The drug cocktail approach will require much more research to see if it really does lead to more youthful cells.

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