At long last, scientists may have discovered a true fountain-of-youth drug that will be tested on humans within six months.
After discovering a key signaling process in DNA repair and cell aging, a team of researchers has developed a drug that could help damaged DNA miraculously repair and actually reverse aging.
During trials conducted on mice, researchers discovered that the drug directly repaired DNA damage caused by exposure to radiation and old age.
“The cells of the aged mice were indistinguishable from the young mice after just one week of treatment,” said lead author, Professor David Sinclair.
“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-aging drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well,” said Professor Sinclair.
NASA is paying close attention to the experiments as it faces the challenge of maintaining the health of its astronauts during a four-year mission to Mars.
Despite the length of their missions, astronauts experience accelerated aging from cosmic radiation, and suffer from muscle weakness, memory loss, and other symptoms when they return.
The challenge would be far worse for astronauts on a trip to Mars — five percent of the astronauts’ cells would die and their risks of cancer would approach 100 percent.
Professor Sinclair and his colleague Dr. Lindsay Wu won NASA’s iTech competition in December 2016.
“We came in with a solution for a biological problem and it won the competition out of 300 entries,” Dr. Wu said.
Astronauts are not alone in dealing with cosmic radiation — everyone is exposed to it aboard aircraft, with a London-Singapore-Melbourne flight delivering nearly as much radiation as a chest x-ray.
Specific benefits of the drug might be seen by frequent flyers, with the anti-aging pill mitigating any effects of DNA damage for those who often travel by air.
Another group of beneficiaries might be survivors of childhood cancers.
Dr. Wu noted that 96 percent of childhood cancer survivors are diagnosed with a chronic illness by age 45, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancers unrelated to the original cancer.
“All of this adds up to the fact they have accelerated aging, which is devastating,” he said. “It would be great to do something about that, and we believe we can with this molecule.”
The mice experiments, conducted by a team at the University of New South Wales, suggest a treatment for these issues is possible with the new drug.
Human trials with the drug will begin this year at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
H/T: Daily Mail
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