If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and wished for a younger body, we have some good news for you. Human trials will soon go ahead on a drug that could turn back the effects of ageing, giving us a longer, healthier life.
The most exciting thing, is that this drug is already commonly in use.
The world’s first anti-ageing drug trails will commence soon after the Food and Drug Administration in the US gave the go-ahead for researchers to extend their study of the side effects of metformin.
Metformin is currently in use as a diabetes treatment, however doctors and scientists have taken an interest in the drug’s side effect – that being longer-than-expected life in diabetes patients.
When Belgian researchers tested metformin on worms, they not only aged slower, but also stayed healthier for longer – they didn’t slow down or develop wrinkles. Mice treated with the drug lived nearly 40 per cent longer and maintained stronger bones were also stronger.
The hope is this drug will unlock a new era of medicine called “geroscience” in which doctors no longer fight against conditions like cancer, dementia and diabetes, but treat the major underlying cause – that is, ageing.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s could become a thing of the past, and scientists are quietly confident they will soon be able to slow down ageing to the point where tomorrow’s 70-year-olds have the biological bodies of a 50-year-old, and life expectancies leap to between 110 and 120.
Professor Gordon Lithgow of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California explains: “If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well. That’s revolutionary. That’s never happened before.
“I have been doing research into ageing for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about a clinical trial in humans for an anti-ageing drug would have been though inconceivable.But there is every reason to believe it’s possible.
“Twenty years ago ageing was a biological mystery. Now we are starting to understand what is going on.”
The conditions, signs and symptoms of ageing we are all familiar with are actually due to errors that occur when our cells divide. As The Telegraph puts is, “ageing is not an inevitable part of life because all cells contain a DNA blueprint which could keep a body functioning correctly forever. Some marine creatures do not age at all.”
The clinical trial called Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME, is scheduled to begin in the US next year.
Would you embrace a treatment that allowed you to live an extra 30 or 40 years? What would you do differently if you knew this was the case?