Anti-Aging Pill? May Be Patented Sooner Than We Think
Longevity scientists have been working to produce a drug capable of slowing down the aging process, not just treating specific conditions or symptoms. The thought behind this ‘miracle’ drug—and seemingly fountain of youth in a capsule—is that the drug will target, and prevent, multiple diseases at once.
What sounds like a good premise for a science fiction novel may actually be coming to fruition sooner than we think. Scientists have actually been researching for years to pin-point a drug that will target and prevent the onslaught of diseases in humans. In fact, the Mayo Clinic published breakthrough news in 2011 that discussed a delay in the onset of age-related diseases in mice by killing off the rodents’ senescent cells, or cells that have stopped dividing and accumulate as organisms age. These are the cells that often fuel diseases that strike people as they get older or when their immune systems are vulnerable.
“It’s not just that we’re trying to make people live longer; we’re trying to make people live healthier. This is an exciting time for research,” says Felipe Sierra, director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging.
A Brighter Future for Healthy Living
Top-notch research labs are rolling out studies at a rapid rate, and a growing chorus of experts believe the advances being made will ultimately lead to a creation of drugs capable of extending not only the human lifespan, but also making it a healthy one.
In addition to the senescent cell research discussed above, many studies are currently underway:
- Telomere Research — Harvard researchers have been trying to control the aging process by targeting specialized structures at the tips of chromosomes, called telomeres. Gene therapy in mice is then used to lengthen the telomeres which has shown to increase the longevity of the mice.
- Mitochondria Research — Many studies have found that feeding mice rapamycin—an immunosuppressant that used to prevent organ refection after transplants—can extend the lifespan of mice significantly.
- Cutting Calories Research — Studies that date back to the 1930s have shown that cutting calories to near starvation levels can be a boon for animal longevity. In the 1990s scientists discovered that calorie-restricted animals survived as much as 30 percent longer because the condition activated a family of genes that produce proteins called “sirtuins”—substances that directly alter metabolic activity to stave off diseases of aging.
The Bottom Line
“The thing to remember is that most of the breakthroughs in longevity research that you hear about on the news have their origins in basic research in animals,” says Sierra. No matter how exciting they are from a scientific perspective, it could be decades before they start yielding anti-aging medications for the masses, he cautions.
So don’t get your hopes up quite yet as research is quite premature. As I always say, “Indiana Jones may have found the fountain of youth, but Harrison Ford continues to age.”
Watch this FOX video on anti-aging pills to learn more about the premise:
- Scientists Successfully Test The First Gene Therapy Against Aging-Associated Decline (medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Hunt for an Anti-Aging Pill Is on (health.usnews.com)
- Telomerase Gene Therapy Shown to Extend Lifespan (extremelongevity.net)
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