Drug that delays old age moves a step closer
Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30
A pill to ward off ageing has taken a further step after tests of a rejuvenating drug that prolongs healthy life have been carried out.
Scientists from the US National Institutes of Health found that activating a protein called sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) extended the lives of mice and delayed the onset of age-related diseases. They believe their experiments could lead to drugs that help to keep people younger and healthier.
SIRT1 and SIRT2 are known to play key roles in metabolism across a wide range of species. They are involved in DNA repair and gene regulation, and may help to prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Researchers tested the effects of a SIRT1-activating molecule called SRT1720 on the health and lifespan of mice. Animals were fed a standard diet supplemented with 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of SRT1720 from the age of six months.
The researchers found that SRT1720 extended the average lifespan of mice by 8.8pc. Mice fed the molecule were also lighter and slimmer, with better muscle function.
Further studies showed that SRT1720 supplementation led to a heart-protective lowering of harmful cholesterol and improved insulin sensitivity, which could help prevent diabetes.
The research is published in the journal 'Cell Reports'.
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