Posted on 18 February 2020
A study published last month reported that a combination of three drugs targeting the nutrient-sensing pathways of cells increased fruit fly lifespan by 48%.
The three drugs (trametinib, rapamycin and lithium) each target components of the signalling network that acts downstream of insulin and insulin-like growth factors. Lowering the activity of this network, for example by fasting, improves cells’ response to stress and protects against the pathology of age-related diseases.
Combining the three drugs together produced a remarkable 48% increase in the lifespan of fruit flies, compared with an average of 11% when administered individually. Intriguingly, lithium also cancelled out the negative side effects of rapamycin.
Taken together, our results highlight a potential therapeutic avenue to promote longevity, coadministrating compounds that act on different nodes of the nutrient-sensing network, to maximize their beneficial effects while minimizing negative side effects.Castillo-Quan, J., Tain, L., Kinghorn, K., Li, L., Grönke, S., & Hinze, Y. et al. (2019). A triple drug combination targeting components of the nutrient-sensing network maximizes longevity. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, 116(42), 20817-20819. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1913212116
Unfortunately, effects on lifespan via nutrient-sensing mechanisms have been found to be far smaller in longer-lived organisms. Even as much as 48% increase in lifespan in fruit flies might not translate into any significant gains in human lifespan.
A triple drug combination targeting components of the nutrient-sensing network maximizes longevity: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1913212116
Combining Strategies to Slow Aging to Increase Life Span in Flies by 48%: https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2019/10/combining-strategies-to-slow-aging-to-increase-life-span-in-flies-by-48/