Monday 27th October 2014


Researchers curious about aging mainly work with mice, worms, flies, and yeast, because they are small and easily housed, and because they don’t live long, so improvements to life expectancy are quickly observable. “Twenty years ago it was a really big deal to extend the life span of worms. Now any postdoc can do that,” says Simon Melov, a Buck geneticist. Experiments funded by the National Institute on Aging have shown that drugs can extend a mouse’s life span by about a quarter, and Buck researchers have been able to reverse age-related heart dysfunction in the same animal. Think how the world would be upended if human longevity quickly jumped another 25 percent.

The rubber will meet the road with human trials. “We hope to find five to 10 small molecules that extend healthy life span in mice, then stage a human trial,” says Brian Kennedy, the Buck Institute’s CEO. A drug called rapamycin—being tested at the institute and elsewhere—seems closest to trial stage and has revolutionary potential. – Gregg Easterbrook


Saturday 11th January 2015

Life Extension: Rapamycin

Developed as an anti-rejection drug for patients who have just undergone kidney transplants, rapamycin has recently been shown to extend the lives of mice by more than 10%.

“If you give rapamycin to 20-month-old mice – when they are in their equivalent of our middle age – you can see pretty profound benefits in terms of rejuvenating their bodies and increasing their lifespans,” said Dr Matt Kaeberlein, of the University of Washington in Seattle. “That is why we are so excited about the drug.

It was also the first drug shown to extend lifespan in a mammalian species – Robin McKie


Sunday 18th January 2015

One drug already in clinical trials is rapamycin, which is normally used to aid organ transplants and treat rare cancers. It has been shown to extend the life of mice by 25%, the greatest achieved so far with a drug, and protect them against diseases of ageing including cancer and neurodegeneration. – Zoe Corbyn


Friday 2nd October 2015

Anti-Aging Drug: First Step Toward Boosting Immune System, Delaying Aging

The medication, which is a version of the drug known as rapamycin, proved to boost seniors’ immune systems with regard to flu vaccine responses by 20 percent. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

Rapamycin belongs to a group of drugs called mTOR inhibitors, which have been shown in previous studies to work as anti-aging agents.

As people age, mTOR’s genetic pathways seem to have a negative effect, even though they support healthy growth in children (this goes for all mammals). So, using rapamycin to inhibit the mTOR genetic pathway could, in theory, delay aging. In a 2013 study, for example, researchers discovered that rapamycin worked to increase both “mean and maximum life spans” in mice.

However, this is the first time that researchers are studying rapamycin’s effect in humans. While more research is needed to better gauge whether rapamycin can extend a human lifespan like it does in mice, the study shows that it boosts older people’s immune systems, particularly against the flu, which can be especially dangerous to elderly.

For the study, older participants who received the experimental dose of rapamycin had 20 percent more antibodies in response to the flu vaccine than people who didn’t get rapamycin. In addition, rapamycin decreased the amount of white blood cells that are typically linked to aging and immune decline. – Lecia Bushak


Friday 29th July 2016




Rapamycin extends lifespan in mice. It works by blocking the protein TOR (Target of Rapamycin). It is currently being tested on dogs.

Rapamycin is a known calorie restrictive mimetic.

Unfortunately, it has nasty side effects. More work needs to be done to develop rapamycin into a safe drug for humans.

Dave Harrison, team member of a study of rapamycin on mice, said “It may do more harm than good {for humans], as we know neither optimal doses nor schedules of when to start for anti-ageing effects.”

Lee Banfield, Exploring Anti-Aging Strategies



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