Rapamycin: anti-aging drug

Rapamycin: anti-aging drug

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Rapamycin is an antibiotic that slows aging in mouse tests

A drug has delayed aging in laboratory animals and could, therefore, do the same in people.

The drug is an antibiotic, rapamycin, already in use as a suppressant of the immune system in transplant patients and for the treatment of certain cancers.

Most life-prolonging interventions in mice, including a very low calorie diet, need to be started at a very early age to be effective. Rapamycin, on the other hand, has shown the surprising effect of extending life, even though the proper dose was not applied until the mice had lived 600 days (the equivalent of the age of 60 in a person).

Experts warn against trying this at home. It is not yet known whether rapamycin slows aging in people and at what dose it might be effective in humans. And it is not advisable to play with any drug that suppresses the immune system.

The discovery, made by researchers from three institutions working together, was published online in the journal Nature. The teams have been led by David E. Harrison of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine; Richard A. Miller of the University of Michigan; and Randy Strong, University of Texas Health Sciences Center.

Researchers still do not know how rapamycin produces its anti-aging effect; it may be that it simply slows down tumors rather than slows the aging process in general.

All three teams have been funded by the US National Institute on Aging, as part of a program to test potential anti-aging drugs more rigorously.

"One of the ugly secrets of the field is that most longevity experiments in mice are done only once in a laboratory and with a genetic profile," said Steven Austad, an expert on aging at the Center for Health Sciences at the United States. University of Texas, which was not involved in the investigation.

The National Institute on Aging program includes a two-dose test of resveratrol, the ingredient in red wine believed to mimic the effects of calorie restriction on longevity. The results have not been published, but Christoph Westphal, president of Sirtris, a company that studies the health effects of resveratrol and similar chemicals, noted that the tests "are showing quite modest effects of resveratrol."

The efficacy of rapamycin in extending life in elderly mice was discovered by accident. The researchers found that the mice given rapamycin were not getting the proper dose in their blood. So they reformulated the drug into capsules, but by then the mice were old. Still, life expectancy increased 14% in female mice and 9% in males.

According to Dr. Miller, it is no longer irresponsible to claim that continuing research of this type could lead to medicines that increase life expectancy in humans by 10-30%.

It will be about 10 years before all of this becomes clear, he added, but at the moment, "I don't think there is any evidence that any drug can slow aging in humans."

Source: New York Times

Video: Ep. 6 Healthy Aging: The Ultimate Preventative Medicine by Matt R. Kaeberlein, PhD (July 2022).


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