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Drug is rapamycin and is FDA approved for anti-rejection treatment in humans

The search for medications that extend the lifespan of humans has been going on for many lifetimes. Explorers searched for the legendary fountain of youth said to make anyone who drank from it young again. Today researchers study different medications to extend the lifespan of humans.

Researchers have discovered the first drug that has been proven to extend the lifespan of mammals when taken late in life. The drug is called rapamycin and is derived from bacteria that lives in the soil on the remote and legendary Easter Island most well-known for its gigantic moai statues.

Rapamycin is already used to treat disease in humans and is an antifungal compound that is approved by the FDA as an immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection in organ transplant patients. The drug is also undergoing clinical trials at this time as an anti-cancer drug. Previous studies had proven that the drug was capable of extending the lifespan of invertebrates.

The new study gave the drug to mice starting at 20 months of age, the equivalent of 60 human years. During the study, the researchers found that the drug was able to extend the life of male mice by 9% and by 13% in female mice.

David Sinclair, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School, said, "Maybe 20 years from now we'll look back at this study as a landmark that pointed the way to medicines of the future." Sinclair was not a participant in the study.

Sinclair continued saying, "It's particularly exciting because it works so late in life to extend life span. The fact that you can give a drug after 20 months of age in a mouse and still see a life-span extension is striking."

The significance is that should the drug move forward in human testing and be approved for use, patients could start taking the medication later in life rather than having to start treatment with the drug earlier in life and be exposed to more side effects.

The results of the study were pooled from the results of three other independent studies conducted at Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor, ME; the University of Texas Health Science Center, in San Antonio; and the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

The researchers point out that finding the efficacy of the drug in extending life span late in life was an accident. The drug was planned to be administered to the mice at four months of age, but the effective dose for treatment was prohibitively expensive. The researchers lost time while they devised a fix for the dosing issue, which was a coating that let the drug be absorbed in the intestine.

The mechanism of action for the drug remains to be seen say the researchers. Rapamycin is known to act on a protein called target of rapamycin (TOR) which helps cells make new proteins and helps prevent destruction of malfunctioning cells. The effect of the drug to fight aging in humans is unknown say the researchers since the medication has significant side effects like fungal infections and pneumonia because it suppresses the immune system. The researchers hope that further refinement of the treatment could one-day lead to an extra decade or two of "relative good health."

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not very useful
By spread on 7/9/2009 10:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
this is all peachy, but it shuts down the immune system.

RE: not very useful
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/9/2009 11:03:41 AM , Rating: 5
Bah... what use would I have for an immune system if I'm immortal.

RE: not very useful
By marsbound2024 on 7/9/2009 11:08:21 AM , Rating: 3
To clear up those annoying sinus infections?

RE: not very useful
By Mitch101 on 7/9/2009 12:38:23 PM , Rating: 5
Just stop putting your finger in there and that will stop.

RE: not very useful
RE: not very useful
By Samus on 7/9/2009 7:06:40 PM , Rating: 4
Go banana!

RE: not very useful
By ggordonliddy on 7/10/2009 1:57:40 AM , Rating: 2
Just stop putting your finger in there and that will stop.

But then where will I get my tasty treats?

RE: not very useful
By JasonMick on 7/9/2009 11:13:48 AM , Rating: 4
The original op is correct.

From the Wiki page on the drug:
A 2009 study indicated that rapamycin can prolong the life of mice. If this increase in lifespan were translated to human years, it might allow humans to live more than a hundred years. However, because it strongly suppresses the immune system, the drug cannot be used by humans as a kind of fountain of youth. While the mice in the study were protected in the laboratory, people taking rapamycin are very susceptible to life-threatening infections and cancers, and require constant medical supervision.

I'm all for us gaining immortality (or at least longer life), but I'll stick with my hunt for the Dragonballs until I see a more practical means...

RE: not very useful
By Mitch101 on 7/9/2009 12:39:38 PM , Rating: 4
Goodbye social security.

RE: not very useful
By MrPoletski on 7/10/2009 4:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
wrong, good excuse for the govt to bolt another 15 years onto the minimum returement age... ;)

RE: not very useful
By geddarkstorm on 7/9/2009 2:36:45 PM , Rating: 5
Hah, not if I beat you to them!

The thing is, the method by which rapamycin likely increases lifespan is through TOR. By deactivating TOR, the cell is set into an autophagy state, which basically scrubs out malformed proteins, toxins, aged mitochondria, and other accumulated materials to "reset" the cell, and consequently restore its health. Rapamycin isn't the only molecule that can do this. The key is simply finding other, safe molecules (ones that don't shut down the immune system for instance), that can stimulate the same processes in a limited, non damaging way. Too much autophagy also leads to cell death and could cause rapid wear and tear at the tissue/organ level, so it's an interesting balancing act (the doses of rapamycin they used in the study were obviously in the good zone for that function, if it's the case).

There are some compound potentials that fit that bill, so it'll be interesting to see if that theory is correct and if it is how rapamycin (and potentially others) increase lifespan.

Nothing like a good clean out of ones system to fix things up ^^

RE: not very useful
By Silver2k7 on 7/10/2009 5:23:52 AM , Rating: 2
JasonMick you don't need the dragonballs.. you need some Senzu Beans ;)

RE: not very useful
By mpc7488 on 7/9/2009 11:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
Good point ;)

RE: not very useful
By Daphault on 7/9/2009 11:07:46 AM , Rating: 5
Yea... because this was the last step in the research and no one plans on researching how and why it works to improve the results and limit the drawbacks when Rapamycin is administered.

RE: not very useful
By rodrigu3 on 7/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: not very useful
By Jimbo1234 on 7/9/2009 1:53:34 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently you did not pick up on the tone of that.

RE: not very useful
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/9/2009 11:11:59 AM , Rating: 2
Look at the bright side, no allergies.

RE: not very useful
By Omega215D on 7/10/2009 2:40:47 AM , Rating: 4
Side effects include nausea, headache, loss of hair and penis and possible increase risk of death. =P

RE: not very useful
By bhieb on 7/9/2009 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
By that late in life something will have crapped out anyway (heart, liver, kidney) so you will need the immu suppressiveness anyway.

RE: not very useful
By redbone75 on 7/9/2009 2:56:15 PM , Rating: 3
Bring on the self contained bio-suits! We'll never have skin to skin interaction again, and sex will consist of sperm collection and in-vitro fertilization, but at least we'll be around longer to do it!

RE: not very useful
By Silver2k7 on 7/10/2009 5:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
when they found out why this drug cause life extention.. then whats causing unwanted sideeffects could hopefully be removed.

RE: not very useful
By Viper96720 on 7/9/2009 4:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Why do it? Money of course. Let's make you live longer so we can get more money from you. What good is longer lifespan when your older? Maybe bedridden or senile

RE: not very useful
By Omega215D on 7/10/2009 2:41:39 AM , Rating: 3
I would like to live long enough to see how far we can advance as a species. That's probably just me...

RE: not very useful
By Chocobollz on 7/10/2009 3:01:16 AM , Rating: 3
If that's what you want, you don't need to live long, you can always see it from heaven (or hell) LOL

By dawza on 7/9/2009 11:25:13 AM , Rating: 3
Much of the upstream regulation of mTOR (the target of Rapamycin) centers around the activation of AMPK, a signaling molecule that is strongly induced by strenuous exercise. Thus, while we can all debate about the virtues of taking a protein synthesis inhibitor/immunosuppressant to potentially extend lifespan, this finding implies (albeit indirectly) that exercise may be helpful in extending lifespan.

Who knew!

RE: Exercise
By SiN on 7/9/2009 11:43:38 AM , Rating: 5
typical answer to exerting ones self

OMG This exercise you speak of, is it available in pill form?

RE: Exercise
By dawza on 7/9/2009 11:56:28 AM , Rating: 5
ROFL- how true.

We conduct research on Type II Diabetes at the university, and one of the first questions I get when I tell people this is "will there ever be a cure?"

My answer, inevitably, is that a cure already exists- lifestyle modification. However, since everyone would rather take a magic pill instead, the obvious solution is to invest billions of dollars in research funds in an attempt to create this wonder drug.

RE: Exercise
By Ammohunt on 7/9/2009 1:31:07 PM , Rating: 1
its a trade off live with diabetes and be able to walk or wear your joints out and either get them replaced or live out your days in a wheel chair.

RE: Exercise
By tastyratz on 7/9/2009 2:15:07 PM , Rating: 4
Either that, or get regular exercise to SAVE your joints. Diabetes is regularly caused by obesity and once you have it diabetes can be a large contributor in significant obesity.
Put down the cheetos and go for a walk to save your joints from the stress of 200 extra pounds.

RE: Exercise
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 12:06:39 PM , Rating: 3
Give them time.

RE: Exercise
By RandallMoore on 7/9/2009 12:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
OMG This exercise you speak of, is it available in pill form?

Yeah, they developed it right after they engineered a drug that keeps puppies and kittens from aging :D

How much money could you make from developing such a drug I wonder...

RE: Exercise
By tmouse on 7/9/2009 1:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
Its also been known for decades that caloric restriction seem to double the lifespan of any organism it has been tested on, but good luck selling that. It is really stretching things to equate a mouse's life span to a humans, so Rapamycin extends a mouse's life span a couple of months it may also just expand a humans lifespan by a couple of months. While mice are the most genetically tractable mammal system we have, they are far from a good choice to extrapolate many clinical syndromes from.

So this would just extend your torcher?
By acase on 7/9/2009 12:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Life pretty much blows after 60 anyways. What good is it if your body is already run down when you start taking the drug? Pretty sure my grandparents aren't exactly begging for more time and they are only in their 80s.

By ClownPuncher on 7/9/2009 1:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
Is it safe to assume your grandparents haven't done any cardio for 40 years?

RE: So this would just extend your torcher?
By Sazar on 7/9/2009 1:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I'm all for the "let old people age gracefully and die" philosophy.

Face-lifts and dentures and senility are only attractive for so long. I, for one, don't plan on prolonging my life beyond my useful existence and initial expire-by date.

RE: So this would just extend your torcher?
By drmo on 7/9/2009 2:39:41 PM , Rating: 3
It is likely (see the links in my other posts) that many of these drugs will work by mechanisms that inhibit some of the ill effects of aging (anti-inflammtory, anti-senility, etc.), so while you may be 80, you could be the physical equivalent of a 60-year-old. People don't just die of "old age", it is the break-down on particular body systems that accompanies age that causes death, and so these age-extending drugs are probably just slowing down the same negative processes. The trick would be to find one or combination of few drugs that inhibit the break-down of multiple systems, so you don't just live longer, but feel (and look) younger.

By Omega215D on 7/10/2009 2:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four...

By anotherdude on 7/9/2009 2:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
We'll see if you still feel this way when you are old enough to feel the end coming, the grim reaper has been known to regularly crush such youthful bravado.

By duclosa on 7/9/2009 6:51:23 PM , Rating: 5
1. Rapa is not an antifungal
2. Rapa is a very potent immunosuppressive and antiproliferative agent
3. Rapa really screws up your lipid profile
4. Research in rodent doest not always translate well in human

So go easy on that fountain of youth...
What works so far:
- don't smoke
- exercise
- eat well

RE: hum...
By ApfDaMan on 7/10/2009 12:49:06 AM , Rating: 1
I hear not jumping off cliffs also increases lifespan dramatically.

RE: hum...
By AlmostExAMD on 7/10/2009 12:53:50 AM , Rating: 1
Disagree on the eat well part,That's all BS as well!
Guess everyones different but I don't eat any meat/fish/vegetables/and bugger all fruit yet I'm perfectly healthy just on plain foods such as pasta,rice,milk,hardly enough exercise either and am correct weight for height.
Caloric restriction is probably the biggest factor along with exercise.
Doesn't matter what you put into your body as long as it's not poisonous,it's edible,and you don't eat too much or too little of it.
It's all just energy,only thing that matters is working out how much of that energy one needs for their own body mass!
I think it's just more marketing BS to get people to buy more food or vitamin tablets!
You think our ancestors had a choice in the food they ate?
Pretty much whatever was around went in the belly.
In the end it all comes down to balance,That applies to every area of life,work,play,food,everything.
But in the end EVERYTHING dies,including the stars above.

RE: hum...
By Apoxie on 7/10/2009 3:09:44 AM , Rating: 2
How old are you?

If you are below your expected lifespan, then its really not surprising, that you are still healthy, even if you don't protect your body. The body can take a hell of a lot of abuse. Just look at drug addicts, who still live after 10 years of heavy use.

RE: hum...
By ninus3d on 7/10/2009 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
Get your facts straight, if you really believe what you have posted then you should seriously do some research as it will turn the direction your body is heading in drastically.

Also, beeing skinny or fat is not a healthiness ratio, beeing overweight is one of the billion issues out there that affect your health. Just not beeing fat means just that, that you dont have THAT specific health issue :P

I have some semi education in nutrition and exercise and a high interest in human body chemistry, if you are interested I'd love to help you out, even if all you really want is research studies to get the truth.

Mystery solved
By marsbound2024 on 7/9/2009 10:53:51 AM , Rating: 4
The Fountain of Youth must have been water that was saturated in rapamycin!

RE: Mystery solved
By elgueroloco on 7/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Mystery solved
By ThePooBurner on 7/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Mystery solved
By drmo on 7/9/2009 1:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the fountain of youth myth was based on the properties of a real location (spring) containing a life-extending substance produced by bacteria or fungi, or a local plant. Rapamycin would not fit because of the immunosuppresive effects, so Easter Island was probably not the location.

By Mojo the Monkey on 7/9/2009 11:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
If/when they really do find a drug that works like this for humans without the immune suppression side effects, can you imagine the social security crisis?

We need old people to die to prevent our society from becoming too top heavy. Malthus would disapprove.

RE: Also...
By delphinus100 on 7/9/2009 12:22:15 PM , Rating: 2

First: We already have a looming Social Security crisis. even (indeed, especially) if nothing else changes.

Second: So, I should die because someone is too stupid to raise the retirement age, when longer, healthier life is possible?

RE: Also...
By nvalhalla on 7/9/2009 12:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
I's bet the reason it worked so well was because of the immune suppression. The two are likely linked. Time will tell...

selegiline anyone?
By sonicology on 7/9/2009 12:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
Please correct me if I am wrong but I believe that the assertion that rapamycin is "the first drug that has been proven to extend the lifespan of mammals" is erroneous; selegiline has been known to ellicit this effect in several species of mammals for some time now.

RE: selegiline anyone?
By drmo on 7/9/2009 1:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
RE: selegiline anyone?
By drmo on 7/9/2009 1:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
Also: on numerous drugs being tested:

Quit trying to find cures and deal with it.
By Earthmonger on 7/10/2009 7:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody ever thinks ahead, do they? It's great that we all want to live longer lives, cure cancer, blah blah blah. But who are we going to have to kill to do this?

The longer we live, the more people there are alive at one time, the more overpopulated this little rock becomes, the more taxed our resources are. We have to choose who to kill, now, since we aren't letting nature make that choice anymore.

So, what are we going to do?
- Form a one-world government and restrict birth rights globally?
- Pick some random country and force sterility upon them?
- Colonize Mars? Like, in the next 25 years?
- Logan's Run scenario?
- Go to war and slaughter each other? (This will happen anyway, with more people vying for resources. Perhaps a few atom-smashers will put us even again.)

This is not the time for life extension. Man is ill-prepared.

By MrPoletski on 7/10/2009 9:50:02 AM , Rating: 1
With an extended lifespan, human beings will become far better at avoiding their greatest failing, the art of retardedly repeating histories mistakes.

Not only that, with much greater lifespans might come safer, later-in-life pregnancies. i.e. what if the average age of parenthood went up 10 years too.

By delphinus100 on 7/13/2009 1:57:29 AM , Rating: 2
You speak as if the current situation is sustainable, too.

So tell everyone that we'll stop all research on disease cures because it would increase the average life span. Good luck with that.

What's that? Cure 'diseases' but not 'normal aging?' 'Aging' and 'age-related diseases' aren't as neatly separable as you may think...

By crackedwiseman on 7/9/2009 12:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
One thing that strikes me is the effect that having more generations alive at once has on the experience of younger generations. My great grandmother (94 years old) is still alive and active, and it is truly wonderful at family gatherings to see four generations in dialogue (mine, my parents, my grandparents, and great-grandparents). I'd say that having the opportunity to learn from this collective experience has been a major influence in my life, and if I have kids I would love for them to meet my grandparents. Despite the fact that interactions would have to be limited to sterile environments due to the side effects of this particular drug, I think the perspective gained through interacting with older generations could do many people in my generation a lot of good.

What is the % quoted?
By karkas on 7/10/2009 5:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
People talking about a fountain of youth need to chill out. For starters in the US the drug is referred to as sirolimus or by the brand name RAPAMUNE.

I could do a study of of 60 years olds, give ANY antibiotic to half of a group, then give placebo to the other half. Average the resultant ages at death and conclude... guess what... the treatment arm lives X% longer.

There is no fountain of youth.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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