Scientists from the Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands, have discovered a drug that successfully reverses aspects of aging. Even though the study was conducted on mice, they are planning human trials that will hopefully prove that this treatment for old age works for people too.
The study involved old mice and the researchers rejuvenated them to restore their fur, stamina, and even some organ function.
The method works by eliminating “senescent” or retired cells from the body that have stopped dividing.
The natural process of aging makes them accumulate, and they take part in the wound healing process as well as stopping tumors from developing.
However, these accumulated retired cells don’t just sit there. Instead, they release chemicals which cause inflammation and are involved in the process of aging.
Dr. Peter de Keizer, the lead research in the study, explains how he and his team made a drug that selectively killed retired cells in the body, by disrupting their chemical balance.
After three unsuccessful attempts, the fourth time that Dr. Keizer succeeded. He and his team tested the new drug they created on old mice (90 years in mouse years).
The mice were either aged by chemotherapy, or genetically programmed to age very quickly.
The journal Cell published the results which showed that the function of the mice’ liver was easily restored and the distance they would normally run in a wheel had doubled. The researchers couldn’t miss the change in their hair, even though that wasn’t part of their plan (see the image below.)
The experiment lasted a whole year, and the mice were given the drug 3 times a week.
Dr. Keizer reports they were no side effects of the treatment with this drug. He believes it has little to no effect on normal tissues.
As he reported for BBC News website, the success of the drug tested on mice is beyond question. However, he and his team should now focus on testing the drug’s effects on specific age-related diseases like osteoporosis, as well as preparing for clinical translation.
He thinks this could be the drug for aging we have all waited for.
We hope the clinical trials will soon take place and we will have this drug available as an over-the-counter supplement.