A drug that can reverse aspects of ageing has been successfully trialled in animals . . . mice to be specific
They rejuvenated old mice (the equivalent of 90 in mouse years) to restore their stamina, coat of fur and even some organ function.
The findings, published in the journal Cell, showed liver function was easily restored and the animals doubled the distance they would run in a wheel.
Dr Peter de Keizer and the team at Erasmus University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, are planning human trials for what they hope is a treatment for old age. (I’m signing up. Always wanted to visit the Netherlands – the country, not the psychic-state)
The approach works by flushing out retired or “senescent” cells in the body that have stopped dividing. They accumulate naturally with age and have a role in wound healing and stopping tumours. But while they appear to just sit there, senescent cells release chemicals that cause inflammation and have been implicated in ageing.
The scientists created a drug that selectively killed senescent cells by disrupting the chemical balance within them. The drug was given three times a week and the experiments took place for nearly a year.
“There are no signs of side-effects but “mice don’t talk”, Dr de Keizer said. “However, it is thought the drug would have little to no effect on normal tissues.”
(Mice talk, human’s just don’t understand “Mouselish”)
When asked if this was a drug for ageing, Dr Keizer told the BBC News website: “I hope so, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating as you say. In terms of mouse work we are pretty much done, we could look at specific age-related diseases eg osteoporosis, but we should now prepare for clinical translation.”
Commenting on the results, Dr Dusko Ilic, a stem cell scientist at King’s College London, said: “The finding is impossible to dismiss. [But] until more high-quality research is done, it is better to be reserved about these findings. Though, I would not be surprised if manufacturers try to capitalise on this and, in a few years, we could buy this peptide as a supplement over the counter.”