One up and coming drug might be able to extend the lifespans of dogs. The drug has already proven to be successful in fruit flies, worms and mice. It could one day even be used on humans.
The drug is called rapamycin, and it has been used for years in organ transplants to help the body accept new organs. While scientists are not completely sure how the drug works, it has already shown tremendous promise.
A group of 20 dogs in Seattle are currently serving as test subjects of rapamycin. The drug is one of a number of anti-aging drugs that eventually might make their way to human testing.
However, the drug isn’t perfect, as it does have some reported side effects. The drug can reportedly increase blood sugar and the risk of developing diabetes. It also causes canker sores. Some reports also indicate that it might suppress the immune system.
The drug works by slowing down the process of the degradation of cells. By making cell deteriorate slower, the body essentially ages at a slower rate.
However, similar experiments have been a failure in the past. In the early 2000s, scientists identified certain enzymes known as sirtuins, which help to allow animals to live longer lives.
Scientists were able to activate the sirtuins using an ingredient commonly found in red wine known as resveratrol. However, the scientists were never able to prove that resveratrol was able to extend the lifespan of humans.
Rapamycin was originally isolated from bacteria found in the soil of Easter Island. It is one of five drugs that have been proven to extend the lives of mice. However, just because it worked in mice does not mean that it will work in people.
Some experts argue that since mice have such short lifespans, they have more room for improvement. Meanwhile, people are already equipped to live long lives.
Using rapamycin, scientists were able to extend the lives of mice from anywhere between 9% and 14%. The process even worked when the mice were first given rapamycin very late into their lives.
The drug also worked to prevent cardiovascular damage and memory loss in the mice, making the drug potentially extremely useful for humans.
Another drug making waves is the diabetes drug metformin. Diabetics taking the drug have proven to live longer lives than people with diabetes who were not taking the medicine. However, researchers believe that the effects of metformin are not as strong as rapamycin.
For now, researchers are restricting their study on the use of rapamycin to dogs. But if all goes well, it won’t be long until the drug is tested on everyday people.