It appears so! Worms (C. elegans) that are only 1 mm long could help in the treatment of kidney disease that is age related!!! A gene protein named Klotho, which kind of sounds like a Muppet name is the key genetic player that worms and humans have in common. Not that it is the “Fountain of Youth”, but it could lead to better treatment in the aging human population.
The worm, C. elegans has been studied genetically for some 50 years. Just ten years ago the Klotho gene was discovered in mice, then humans and more recently in the little worms. The protein has a lot to do with how the body handles soft tissue calcification, especially as we age. For example, the disease that we know as “hardening of the arteries” or atherosclerosis is caused by deposits in the vessels and the same can happen in the kidneys. Kidney disease tends to disrupt how calcium and phosphate are metabolized. Researchers at the University of Huddersfield are hopeful that Klotho can shed more light on just how it helps to manage calcification.