Rapamycin, a drug that slows the growth of cancer tumors, is being touted as a possible way to slow aging.
Initial studies with animals show the drug, also sold under the names Rapamune and Sirolimus, can not only lengthen lifespan but also blunt aging’s telltale effects such as fatigue, weight gain, and the development of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses often appearing in later years.
A key cause of aging is “cellular senescence.” Like the rest of your body, cells can become elderly. After decades of dividing to make new cells, successive generations can accumulate mistakes and begin to malfunction. They dribble harmful waste products into the bloodstream, causing generalized inflammation, which also leads to diseases associated with growing older.
Normally, the immune system sweeps out senescent cells, but as we age that function also begins to deteriorate, leaving more doddering cells in place to continue to do damage.
Now rapamycin has been found to suppress the inflammatory response and limit senescent cells’ damage to their neighbors. It does so by blocking a protein that activates a signaling pathway that has to do with growth and aging.
Human trials are being planned to judge the drug’s overall effects on human aging.
A recent study paired rapamycin with metformin, a drug for diabetes that also has shown promising anti-aging properties. In the study, the two drugs seemed to cancel out each other’s side effects, delivering rapamycin-like benefits with relatively little downside danger.
TRENDPOST: Rapamycin as an antidote to aging won’t be available for years. However, you can gain the same benefits by taking over-the-counter berberine and resveratrol, according to physician Carl Giordano, chief medical officer of Rebesana, a company that makes an anti-aging nutritional supplement. The two target the same signaling pathway as rapamycin, he says.
[Please note: The Trends Journal does not recommend or endorse any drugs, nutritional supplements, or any other products to be taken internally.]