Ever since last summer, when Lynn Gemmell’s dog, Bela, was inducted into the trial of a drug that has been shown to significantly lengthen the lives of laboratory mice, she has been the object of intense scrutiny among dog park regulars.
To those who insist that Bela, 8, has turned back into a puppy — “Look how fast she’s getting that ball!” — Ms. Gemmell has tried to turn a deaf ear. Bela, a Border collie-Australian shepherd mix, may have been given a placebo, for one thing.
The drug, rapamycin, which improved heart health and appeared to delay the onset of some diseases in older mice, may not work the same magic in dogs, for another. There is also a chance it could do more harm than good. “This is just to look for side effects, in dogs,” Ms. Gemmell told Bela’s many well-wishers.
Technically that is true. But the trial also represents a new frontier in testing a proposition for improving human health: Rather than only seeking treatments for the individual maladies that come with age, we might do better to target the biology that underlies aging itself.
While the diseases that now kill most people in developed nations — heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer — have different immediate causes, age is the major risk factor for all of them. That means that even treatment breakthroughs in these areas, no matter how vital to individuals, would yield on average four or five more years of life, epidemiologists say, and some of them likely shadowed by illness.
A drug that slows aging, the logic goes, might instead serve to delay the onset of several major diseases at once. A handful of drugs tested by federally funded laboratories in recent years appear to extend the healthy lives of mice, with rapamycin and its derivatives, approved by the Food and Drug Administration for organ transplant patients and to treat some types of cancer, so far proving the most effective. In a 2014 study by the drug company Novartis, the drug appeared to bolster the immune system in older patients. And the early results in aging dogs suggest that rapamycin is helping them, too, said Matt Kaeberlein, a biology of aging researcher at the University of Washington who is running the study with a colleague, Daniel Promislow.
But scientists who champion the study of aging’s basic biology — they call it “geroscience” — say their field has received short shrift from the biomedical establishment. And it was not lost on the University of Washington researchers that exposing dog lovers to the idea that aging could be delayed might generate popular support in addition to new data.
“Many of us in the biology of aging field feel like it is underfunded relative to the potential impact on human health this could have,” said Dr. Kaeberlein, who helped pay for the study with funds he received from the university for turning down a competing job offer. “If the average pet owner sees there’s a way to significantly delay aging in their pet, maybe it will begin to impact policy decisions.”
The Latest on: Geroscience
via Google News
The Latest on: Geroscience
- 4 Worst Alcoholic Beverages to Have Over 50on August 4, 2022 at 8:30 am
Your diet and lifestyle as you age are important to maintaining your overall health, but it can be confusing to read so many different opinions on how to do this. For example, when it comes to ...
- Microscopic blood vessel disease associated with Alzheimer’son August 3, 2022 at 8:48 pm
Disease of the microscopic blood vessels that feed the white matter of our brain is associated with worse cognitive function and memory ...
- Defying death: Japan and Singapore lead Asia's stem cell research raceon August 3, 2022 at 7:43 pm
Flicking through the movie list on an international flight, he chanced to watch a documentary about "geroscience" -- the study of aging and how it can be stopped. That struck Lim as a rather good ...
- Dementia: Blood vessel disease may worsen cognitive decline, new study findson August 3, 2022 at 6:06 am
THE DAY dementia is cured will be a golden day in the history of both humanity and health; it will also mark the end of a global struggle against one of science's greatest foes. Until that day, ...
- Microvascular disease and Alzheimer's associated with more white matter damage, more inflammationon August 2, 2022 at 2:11 pm
the researchers write in the journal GeroScience. "We are proposing that if you prevent development of the microvascular component, you may at least add several years of more normal functioning to ...
- Microscopic blood vessel disease in the brain’s white matter associated with worse cognition in Alzheimer’son August 1, 2022 at 9:00 pm
the researchers write in the journal GeroScience. “We are proposing that if you prevent development of the microvascular component, you may at least add several years of more normal functioning ...
- Microscopic blood vessel disease in the brain's white matter associated with worse cognition in Alzheimer'son August 1, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Disease of the microscopic blood vessels that feed the white matter of our brain is associated with worse cognitive function and memory deficits in individuals with Alzheimer's, scientists report ...
- NIH awards rare, perfect score to UB to expand its Center for Successful Agingon July 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm
The award focuses on a relatively new subfield of geriatrics called geroscience, which is the study of the biological mechanisms of aging that result in disease and disability. Troen is among few ...
- White Matter Dementiaon February 8, 2022 at 10:23 pm
Filley, Christopher M 2017. Prematurity, white matter, and cognition: support for leukocentrism. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, Vol. 59, Issue. 9, p. 888 ...
via Bing News