Drug may slow aging
Scientists at Oregon State University have found that a drug that's been used primarily as an immunosuppressant to prevent rejection of organs and tissues, may also have potential to slow the aging process.
Based on research with mice, the medication, called rapamycin, may be able to emulate the same effect as dietary restriction in animals, which has been proven to help them live longer and with fewer age-related diseases.
Rapamycin does have some drawbacks, particularly that it increases insulin resistance, which could set the stage for diabetes. But researchers determined that a combination of rapamycin and another drug may offset the insulin resistance and provide the benefits of the medication.
The researchers, in an article published in the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, said this combination of medications has the potential to increase lifespan and also delay some age-related diseases.
Previous studies have found that dietary restriction by 40 percent can increase the lifespan of mice by as much as 25 to 30 percent. Rapamycin seems to mimic that effect.