Good For Mice And Maybe Men: Easter Island Drug May Slow Down Aging.

Photo: Public domain. A drug made from bacteria found in the soil of Easter Island, the world's remotes island, could help to slow down human aging.
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A few years back a biologist who was studying how a new drug called Rapamycin affected aging in dogs was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder–a painful condition that makes it almost impossible to move the arm on the affected side.

“It was really bad,” he recalls. He couldn’t get a good night’s sleep and couldn’t throw a ball for his dogs due to the pain in his arm.

Rampamycin is a drug that was discovered within soil bacteria from Easter Island, the world’s remotest island, and rampamycin has already been applied as an immuno-suppressor in a number of manners such as coating coronary stents, and helping to reduce immune responses in those who have had organ transplants.

His doctor referred the biologist for physio and told him that it could take a year for the condition to improve.

Feeling frustrated, he decided to try rapamycin. So far, it had been  untested in people taking it for anti-aging, but rapamycin has been shown to apparently make mice live longer.

It was his “first foray into biohacking,” and he was very pleased with what happened next. “Within two weeks, 50% of the pain was gone,” he says. And by the end of 10 weeks, he had regained range of motion in his shoulder and all the pain had gone.

“And it hasn’t come back,” he says.

Rapamycin was first approved by the FDA for use in transplant patients in the late 1990s. At high doses it suppresses the immune system. At low doses, Kaeberlein says it seems to help tamp down inflammation. It works by inhibiting a signaling pathway in the body called — which seems to be a key regulator of lifespan and aging.

The drug is not approved for pain or anti-aging, but some doctors in the US  are prescribing rapamycin off-label with the aim of fending off age-related conditions.

The dog researcher and his colleagues are some of these patients, who take low doses, and many report benefits.

But anecdotes are no replacement for science. (Perhaps his shoulder would have got better anyway.)

To figure out the risks and benefits of the drug a whole lot more research is needed before it can be marketed as a drug to stave off ageing, but there is always hope.

Source: NPR, World Health Net.

 

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