The development of anti-aging drugs to combat against both normal aging and age-related diseases is growing. Rapamycin, an FDA-approved drug used to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients, is known to extend lifespan in model organisms including mice, yeast and flies. In mice, rapamycin is known to inhibit a key metabolic protein called mTOR capable of slowing down both normal aging processes and the age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiovascular problems.
In humans, rapamycin is currently in several clinical trials for cancer. However, investigation of rapamycin as an anti-aging pill has shown undesirable metabolic side effects such as impaired glucose metabolism and infections.
A research team at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health showed in a mouse study that intermittent dosing every five days with rapamycin or daily dosing with the rapamycin reduces the undesirable side effects.
“Conventional rapamycin treatment has many side effects, including causing high blood sugar levels and diabetes. In this study, we have shown that we can get many of the same benefits of rapamycin at the molecular level with reduced side effects by changing the dosing regimen or by using a related FDA-approved analog,” says Dr. Dudley Lamming, assistant professor of medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
“Daily treatment with rapamycin has a severe impact on the production of insulin by beta cells in response to glucose, and the altered dosing regimen decreases this effect,” says Kimple.
The results suggest that a carefully designed dosing strategy may enable the clinical use of rapamycin or related molecules for diseases of aging, but further research is required. “Many important unanswered questions remain, including examination of other side effects of rapamycin and efficacy,” says Lamming.
The research was published in Aging Celland will be presented as scientific poster #340 at the Gerontological Society of America meeting.
KEYWORDS: Anti aging; Drugs; Side effects
SOURCE: University of Wisconsin-Madison