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Researchers Take ‘First Baby Step’ Toward Anti-Aging Drug

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First Baby

Who does not want to remain young & healthy? Of course, every one of us wants the same. But, it is natural for aging to take its course and as a result of it one suffers from the effects of aging. There has been a lot of research into the making of anti-aging drugs and finally there is some good news. Researchers have developed a drug that could significantly delay the effects of aging and improve the health of elderly people

Researchers with the drug maker Novartis have claimed that the drug they have developed have shown to boost the immune system of seniors. This drug is said to work by targeting a genetic signaling pathway that is linked to aging and immune function. This drug is a version of the drug rapamycin and it showed a 20% improved immune response to a flu vaccine said the researcher. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City opined that the study is breakthrough into the effects of aging. Rapamycin is a drug that belongs to a class known as mTOR inhibitors and this class is known to nullify the effects of aging and counteract aging-related diseases in mice and other animals. Barzilai said that this experiment is one of the first studies of its kind that have shown results in delaying the effects of aging in humans. He also added that this study has set the stage for using this drug to target aging. It is a turning point as it improves everything about aging.

Dr. Joan Mannick, executive director of the New Indications Discovery Unit at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and the study lead author said that the mTOR genetic pathway promotes healthy growth in the young. However, it seems that when they have a negative effect on mammals as they grow older. Mannick added that when the drug was used to experiment on mice, it seemed to extend their lifespan and delay the onset of aging-related illnesses. The results were encouraging and hence Mannick and her team decided to test a rapamycin-like drug on elderly and see if they could reverse the natural decline in the elderly people to fight off infections.

For this clinical experiment, more than 200 people about the age of 65 received either the drug or a placebo for several weeks. It was then followed by a dose of flu vaccine. Statistics shows that flu is particularly hard on seniors. About nine out of ten influenza related deaths in the United States occur due to it. The results of this experiment were even more encouraging. Those who received the experimental version of rapamycin developed about 20 percent more antibodies in response to the flu vaccine. In fact, it was seen that even low doses of the medication produced an improved immune response. It was also found by researchers that the people who received the drug had lesser white blood cells associated with age-related immune decline.

Mannick said that this study is a “first baby step,” towards a world of anti-aging drugs. She further added that it is very important to establish the risks and benefits of MTOR inhibitors before they are used to treat aging-related conditions.

Barzilai was however more enthusiastic. He opined that this research could revolutionize the way age-related illnesses are treated. He said that aging is a major risk factor for diseases like heart disease, cancer and other deadly illnesses. If the aging process can be delayed, it will improve people’s health and their lives would be extended.