Drug typically used in cancer treatment emerges as potential anti-aging treatment

Scientists say rapamycin, also used after undergoing an organ transplant, is able to prolong life with only brief use

Cologne, Germany – A drug that patients normally take during cancer treatment may have the power to increase human lifespan, a new study reveals. German researchers say rapamycin can cause side effects when patients take it as a lifelong anti-aging treatment. However, their new report reveals that even brief use can have a dramatic impact on longevity while reducing side effects.

Rapamycin is a cell growth inhibitor and immunosuppressant that people normally take while undergoing cancer treatment or after receiving an organ transplant. A team from the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Aging, however, notes that the drug is also a promising drug. anti-aging formula. Studies involving animals have shown that low doses of rapamycin can prolong life by preventing age-related changes in the intestines. Until now, however, scientists viewed this drug as something patients should take for the rest of their lives.

“At doses used clinically, rapamycin may have undesirable side effects, but for use of the drug in the prevention of age-related decline, these should be absent or minimal. Therefore, we wanted to know when and how long we should give rapamycin to get the same effects as lifetime treatmentsays the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Paula Juricic, in a university outing.

Patients may only need weeks or months of rapamycin treatment

The new study tested rapamycin in two short-term experiments using fruit flies and laboratory mice. The first young adult treated flies for two weeks. The second treated young adult mice (3 months old) for a period of three months. In both experiments, the team found that rapamycin had a beneficial effect on the health of the intestines of each animal during middle age.

“These brief drug treatments in early adulthood produced equally strong protection as continuous treatment started at the same time. We also found that rapamycin treatment had the strongest and best effects when was administered early in life relative to middle age. When flies were treated with rapamycin late in life, on the other hand, it had no effect. Thus, rapamycin memory is activated mainly in early adulthood,” explains co-author Dr. Thomas Leech.

“We have found a way to circumvent the need for chronic long-term rapamycin intake, so it may be more practical to apply in humansadds co-author Dr. Yu-Xuan Lu.

“It will be important to find out if it is possible to achieve the geroprotective effects of rapamycin in mice and humans with treatment starting later in life, because ideally the treatment period should be minimized.” It may also be possible to use intermittent dosing. This study opened new doors, but also raised many new questions,” concludes lead author Professor Linda Partridge.

The study is published in the journal natural aging.

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