Have scientists created an anti-aging drug that will effectively extend our lives? As time passes, humanity bears the brunt of its ill-effects, our hair begins to thin and gray, our skin wanes its elasticity, memories begin to fade and the wild days of our youth slip through our feeble fingers. We desperately cling to any type of age-defying, body rejuvenation medication and tonics available. We dye our hair, and obfuscate crows feet and varicose veins with ointments and concealers, but in time the dye fades and the ointments disappear in our daily wash. In desperation, we cry our pleas of vanity and eternal youth to the stars above.
In a recent study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers believe they have discovered what could be considered to be the first steps in developing an anti-aging drug, that will combat the harmful effects of the aging process, as well as improve the health of older adults. A form of this new drug, known as rapamycin, is currently in use, and has been administered to senior citizens, in combination with the flu vaccine, and after observing the seniors’ reaction to the drug, researchers have reported a 20% boost in the subjects immune systems.
Rapamycin belongs to a group of pharmaceuticals referred to as mTOR inhibitors, and has produced significant anti-aging effects on mice, augmenting both the “mean and maximum life spans” of the animal. mTOR’s effects on older people are what is believed to cause many of the degenerative genetic conditions in older people. However, the mTOR inhibitors produce the opposite conditions in younger studies, these effects have been found to occur in all mammals. In conclusion, the scientists theorize that by using rapamycin on the inhibitor’s pathways, it would allow a delay of the aging process.
Currently, this treatment has only been used on a small-scale, on elderly subjects, to test rapamycin’s reaction on the human immune system, not as an anti-aging treatment. Scientists believe that much more research will need to be performed until any conclusive evidence of rapamycin’s anti-geriatric properties can be determined.
Over the last year, a similar study, conducted by Harvard University and the University of New South Wales, has also been performing experiments with anti-aging drugs. These groups have been treating elderly mice with a chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD, and has been noted to have produced a significant reversal in the aging process of the mice that NAD was tested on. However, this drug is also scheduled for several more years of research before it will be tested on a larger scale and on people.