Researchers claim to have discovered a drug that they say can increase longevity by as much as 10%!
The drug known as alpelisib is not new. It is already FDA-approved for the treatment of certain kinds of breast cancer.
The drug works by targeting a specific enzyme called PI 3-kinase. In trials for the drug’s impact on cancer, it was discovered that suppressing the enzyme also led to increased lifespan in some of the mice and other rodents in the studies.
This prompted a team of New Zealand researchers to look more directly at the life-extending properties of alpelisib.
In their targeted trial, the researchers also found that as well as increased lifespan, the mice exhibited signs of improved health span, including improved coordination and strength.
Research fellow Dr. Chris Hedges said, “Ageing is not only about lifespan but also about the quality of life.
“Therefore, we were pleased to see this drug treatment not only increased longevity of the mice, but they also showed many signs of healthier aging. We are working now to understand how this happens.”
This is all very promising for alpelisib to become one of the first genuine “antiaging” drugs.
However, the researchers themselves point out that there have been a number of drugs that have demonstrated pro-longevity effects, including commonly dispensed medications like aspirin, statin, metformin, and the headline-grabber, rapamycin.
The good news is that since the drugs are already approved to treat other conditions in humans, there is a wealth of safety data available on them.
But, translation of their “unintended” life-extending properties to humans is often a tricky affair, and there have been some disappointing or inconclusive trials, perhaps suggesting additional steps are needed or larger trials warranted in order to get the kinds of results in humans that occurred in rodents.
The researchers also point out that their longevity trial of alpelisib was not without side effects – some severe.
So as the authors rightly surmise, human trials are not likely in the near future, but it further shows the benefits of researching repurposed drugs for longevity.