Anti-ageing drug breakthrough
Drugs that combat ageing may be available within five years, following landmark work led by an Australian researcher. The work, published in the March 8 issue of Science, finally proves that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans.
The paper shows all of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism. This means that a whole new class of anti-ageing drugs is now viable, which could ultimately prevent cancer, Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes.
"Ultimately, these drugs would treat one disease, but unlike drugs of today, they would prevent 20 others," says the lead author of the paper, Professor David Sinclair, from UNSW Medicine, who is based at Harvard University. "In effect, they would slow ageing."
The target enzyme, SIRT1, is switched on naturally by calorie restriction and exercise, but it can also be enhanced through activators. The most common naturally-occurring activator is resveratrol, which is found in small quantities in red wine, but synthetic activators with much stronger activity are already being developed.
Although research surrounding resveratrol has been going for a decade, until now the basic science had been contested. Despite this, there have already been promising results in some trials with implications for cancer, cardiovascular disease and cardiac failure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, fatty liver disease, cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle wasting, sleep disorders and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis and colitis (inflammatory bowel disease).
"In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that tweaks an enzyme to make it run faster," says Professor Sinclair, a geneticist with the Department of Pharmacology at UNSW.
The technology was sold to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2008. Four thousand synthetic activators, which are 100 times as potent as a single glass of red wine, have been developed – the best three are in human trials.
"Our drugs can mimic the benefits of diet and exercise, but there is no impact on weight," says Professor Sinclair, who suggests the first therapeutic to be marketed will be for diabetes.
There have been limited trials in people with type 2 diabetes and the skin inflammatory disease, psoriasis. There were benefits to the metabolism in the first group and a reduction in skin redness in the second.
The drugs can be administered orally, or topically. So far, there have been no drugs developed targeting ageing skin, but one major skin care range has developed a crème with resveratrol in it.
While any drug would be strictly prescribed for certain conditions, Professor Sinclair suggests that one day, they could be taken orally as a preventative. This would be in much the same way as statin drugs are commonly prescribed to prevent, instead of simply treating, cardiovascular disease.
In animal models, overweight mice given synthetic resveratrol were able to run twice as far as slim mice and they lived 15 per cent longer.
"Now we are looking at whether there are benefits for those who are already healthy. Things there are also looking promising," says Professor Sinclair, who also heads the Lowy Cancer Research Centre's Laboratory for Ageing Research at UNSW.
"We're finding that ageing isn't the irreversible affliction that we thought it was," he says. "Some of us could live to 150, but we won't get there without more research."
Journal reference: Science
Provided by University of New South Wales
- 3 Questions: MIT biologist on new resveratrol study Mar 07, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Sirtris unveils promising, novel SIRT1 activators for treating diseases of aging Nov 28, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- New study validates longevity pathway: Findings identify universal mechanism for activating anti-aging pathway Mar 07, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart, bones, eyes and muscle Jul 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Sirtris' review of sirtuin therapeutics for diseases of aging in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery Oct 01, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Every 20 seconds, a limb is lost as a consequence of diabetic foot ulcer that does not heal. To date, medical solutions that can change this situation are very limited. In his doctoral thesis Yue Shen from the Industrial ...
Medical research 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
When tumours metastasise, they can block lymphatic vessels, as researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered using a new method. The lymphatic fluid subsequently has to find a new path through the tissue. Such ...
Medical research 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
Medical research 20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Over the past few decades, neuroscientists have made much progress in mapping the brain by deciphering the functions of individual neurons that perform very specific tasks, such as recognizing the location ...
2 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In a new study described in the journal Oncogene, researchers reveal how a key player in cell growth, immunity and the inflammatory response can be transformed into a primary contributor to tumor growth.
27 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) typically suffer from depression more frequently than those without COPD, resulting in higher levels of disability and illness and increasing the overall ...
24 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, report researchers at Mayo Clinic. Researchers found that IBD is associated with a 37 percent greater risk for the disease. ...
28 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores pharmaceutical advances for treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) and hepatitis C.
25 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Many studies have shown that men and women who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) - a disorder that causes breathing to halt intermittently during sleep – have a higher mortality rate than those who do not have the ...
25 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0