Posted on 4 November 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Rapamycin is a drug that takes its name from the location in which it was discovered, the island of Rapa Nui in the Easter Islands. The compound, secreted by the bacteria Streptomyces hygroscopicus, was initially investigated for its anti-fungal properties. However, scientists quickly realised that rapamycin had the ability to suppress the immune system, leading to it becoming an FDA approved drug for preventing organ rejecting in liver transplant patients. In 2019, it was reported that mice given rapamycin experienced a vastly extended lifespan.
What did the researchers do: In a paper recently published in Geroscience journal, a trio of scientists led by Dr. Arlan Richardson, former director of the Barshop Institute, reviewed the effects of rapamycin on the aging process and age-related diseases in mice.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: The review highlighted that 90% of studies looking at the effects of rapamycin on mice longevity exhibited a significant increase in lifespan of the mice. The studies using a higher dose of rapamycin showed the most drastic extension in lifespan in both males and females. The review also points out that rapamycin supplementation improved biomarkers of cancer, heart function, response to infectious disease and central nervous system function in numerous investigations.
The authors concluded…
We believe one of the first areas that should be seriously considered is taking rapamycin (or its rapalogs) to the clinic as a potential treatment of Alzheimer’s diseaseSource: Effect of rapamycin on aging and age-related diseases—past and future. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00274-1