Posted on Oct 29, 2018, 12 a.m.
Novel drug cocktail has almost doubled the lifespan of microscopic worms in the largest drug induced extension in animal studies to date; which may lead to interventions to help humans live longer, as published in the journal Developmental Cell.
C.elegans worms are often used in aging studies due to biological simplicity allowing researchers to clearly examine effects of any genetic or drug intervention quickly. Researchers from Yale-NUS set out to establish a variety of previously identified anti-aging biological pathways with drugs approved for human use or recognized as safe for mammals shown to extend lifespan in other studies; with the goal to use different combinations to identify promise for life extension which may transfer into human tests.
5 drugs were included in the study including rapamycin, rifampicin, and allantoin; with the triple cocktail resulting in the best observed lifespan extending effects almost doubling C.elegans lifespan in the largest extension reported using drug interventions in animals to date. No adverse health effects were observed, and the cocktail seemed to extend healthspans as well.
Efficacy was confirmed in additional studies with fruit flies with findings showing significant extensions. Researchers hypothesize since similar effects were demonstrated in vastly distinct organisms it may have some universality in aging pathways the drug combination acts upon; they are hopeful that this may mean it is likely to produce similar results in humans.
It was noted that research is still in proof of principle stage. Next stage will be to gain better understandings of how the different combinations of drugs interact with another to delay aging. Researchers plan to use computer models to help test thousands of different molecular combinations more quickly in order to develop the most effective intervention with the end goal of ultimately testing it in human studies.
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