The Fountain of Youth [Coming to a store near you]
The fountain of youth, as it turns out, isn’t so much a fountain, it’s a new drug. There has been countless dollars thrown at anti-aging research, some producing better results than others. So when scientists at northwestern medicine in collaboration with Tohoku University in Japan, released a new study I am sure there was more than one happy person seeing the results.
The team, building on previous research, have managed to extend the life of accelerated aging mice more than four times longer than the control group. All thanks to an experimental drug — not only did it extend the life, it also protected the lungs and cardiovascular system from aging.
This was done, in part by studying how accelerating the aging process of mice affected different biomarkers [things like proteins or hormones in the blood or tissues of the mouse]. The group looked at the aging tissue to figure out the differences, because as cells or tissues age [a process called senescence] they lose the ability to secrete certain proteins.
[Loony hint: The mice were bred to be deficient in a gene (Klotho) which suppresses aging. This allowed the condensed timeline to do the research. Mice in research offer a good biological reference before testing a drug on humans, the already shorter lifespan allows the long term effects to be studied in weeks or months instead of years or decades, as would be the case for purely human trials]
The group focused on PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor) since it was originally the focus of research by Douglas Vaughan, M.D. — the senior author of the study, as it relates to cardiovascular disease. The team found that as the mice aged the levels of PAI-1 in the blood increased.
With that in mind, the team fed rapidly aging mice the experimental drug TM5441 — in their food daily. The result was a decrease in PAI-1 activity, which in turn quadrupled the mice’s life span and kept their organs healthy and functioning.
The drug — TM5441, is one of only several chosen each year by the National Institute on Aging to be tested in its Interventions Testing Program, which investigates treatments with the potential to extend lifespan and delay disease in mice.
The results could have huge implications for aging diseases like HIV, chronic kidney disease and diabetes as well as the effects of cigarette smoking. With the drug protecting the cardiovascular system this could reduce the risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues in both men and women.
Another option, this could be used [as noted in the journal in what would be a cocktail of other drugs] to increase the lifespan of the healthy people, imagine if we could live for just twice as long? Not just live longer, but improve the quality of life in the process, that is huge.
Already know cellular proteins? You probably want the full study which is — here!
Eren M., Boe A.E., Murphy S.B., Place A.T., Nagpal V., Morales-Nebreda L., Urich D., Quaggin S.E., Budinger G.R.S. & Mutlu G.M. & (2014) PAI-1-regulated extracellular proteolysis governs senescence and survival in Klotho mice, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321942111