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Researchers Develop An Experimental Drug That Prolongs Life Span In Mice

Update Date: May 02, 2014 11:03 AM EDT
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Researchers have identified a protein's key role in cell and physiological aging. The understanding helped them in developing an experimental drug that inhibited the proteins's effect, prolonging the lifespan in a mouse model of accelerated aging. 

According to the study reports, the rapidly aging mice fed the experimental drug lived more than four times longer than a control group. It was observed that their lungs and vascular system were also protected from accelerated aging. 

Researchers believe the experimental drug could be potentially used to treat human disease that cause accelerated aging like chronic kidney disease, diabetes and HIV infection. 

"A drug like this could help reduce complications in clinical conditions that reflect accelerated aging," said Douglas Vaughan, M.D., senior author of the study, in the press release. "This had a very robust effect in terms of prolonging life span."

"It makes sense that this might be one component of a cocktail of drugs or supplements that a person might take in the future to extend their healthy life."

The experimental drug, TM5441, is one of only several chosen each year by the National Institute on Aging to be tested in its Interventions Testing Program, which investigates treatments with the potential to extend lifespan and delay disease in mice, the release added. 

Vaughan said the discovery is the result of 25 years of research. 

"We made the intellectual leap between a marker of senescence and physiological aging," Vaughan said. "We asked is this marker for cell aging one of the drivers or mechanisms of rapid physiological aging?"

The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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