Slowing down aging
It is a drug that already exists on the market for the treatment of diabetes and it’s called metformin. It is being heralded as the miracle drug that could extend our lives by decades; and not just extend them, but keep people healthy longer. A 70-year-old could have the biological health of a 50-year-old.
“If you target an aging process and you slow down aging then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of aging as well. That’s revolutionary. That’s never happened before,” study adviser Professor Gordon Lithgow from the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, told media.
“But there is every reason to believe it’s possible,” the professor added. “The future is taking the biology that we’ve now developed and applying it to humans.”
Metformin appears to work in part by allowing more oxygen molecules to be released into our cells, which boosts our health, our energy and our lifespan. Exactly how this boost comes about is not fully known as yet but researchers are not surprised that being able to add oxygen into cells would have a positive affect on our bodies.
Metformin drug trial
It has increased the lifespan of animals and many expect it will do the same with human animals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the go ahead for trials and 3,000 people in their 70s and 80s who either have or are at risk of having major diseases are being recruited.
The trials are expected to begin in America in the winter of 2016.
Researchers at Cardiff University believe they have evidence that diabetes patients given metformin have had their lives extended years beyond what they were expected to live. Those results are anecdotal only.
It’s also believed by some researchers that metformin may be capable of virtually eradicating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parinkson’s. However, there have not yet been metformin trials to specifically target those illnesses.
“I have been doing research into aging for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about clinical trial in humans for an anti-aging drug would have been thought inconceivable,” Professor Lithgow said. “But there is every reason to believe it’s possible.”